Inside The Lives of Sports Journalists

Traveling from city to city town to town getting all the information as possible the life of a Sports Journalist can be rough but its a life many are willing to live for the love of the game.

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Photo via Roger Goun under the Creative Commons license

The lives of sports journalists can be very stressful with crazy schedules and deadlines, but according to them, it is all worth it.

The life of a sports journalist can be a rough one, but many are in it because of the passion they have for the game and with the new era of social media changes are being made. 

Sports journalists Steve Navaroli, Mark Medina, and Mark Hayes have witnessed these changes first hand. Some coming from the local level and some at the professional level. 

The career of sports journalism is not one many prefer if you are in it for the money. The salary range in the United States is $26,000 – $130,000 a year with the average salary being around $42,000 per year.  

Many people become sports journalists because they have passion for sports.  Steve Navaroli, a freelance writer, talked about how you have to stay passionate or you will not make it in sports journalism. 

 There are so many different factors to focus on in sports journalism it is hard to keep track. It used to be just writing and newspapers but now with the new age of social media keeping websites updated and video pieces are almost a must now in the career of sports journalism. 

Navaroli came in to Dallastown High School and spoke to The Beacon Staff about how, “change is inevitable” and  “being flexible by learning new things is big”. More and more as the days go on print journalism is slowly dying. 

With the power struggle between print and digital being a debate all across the journalism world many wonder how they balance both. 

Another problem in sports journalism is the lack of demand for them. There are tons and tons of freelance and ametuer journalists that big companies can just pay them cheaply and not spend too much money on. 

Having a degree in sports journalism helps you take massive steps towards getting the job with the big companies. And having a good portfolio before you try and get the job at the big company can go a long way. 

Like many other jobs you have to work your way up in the space in order to achieve better opportunities. 

“ I had summer internships while being at Syracuse University. Things evolved from there as I got various gigs with the LA Times before landing a full time job with the LA Daily News as the Lakers beat writer and also the Bay Area News Group as the Warriors beat writer. NBA Reporter/Sports Journalist Mark Medina said. 

Before Medina was able to accomplish all of that though he had to start out somewhere.

 “I started with my middle school newspaper at York Suburban Middle School, and I worked for my high school newspaper and TV,”  Medina said.

I started with my middle school newspaper at York Suburban Middle School, and I worked for my high school newspaper and TV. ”

— Mark Medina

Medina also freelanced for the York Daily Record for a little bit until he got his opportunities elsewhere. 

Medina said journalism has changed quite a bit in his time in the profession.

“It will continue to evolve merging from traditional to new media. The change has already happened but it will just continue to transform.” 

Social media has had a huge impact on the space of sports journalism and it will continue to affect it for a while.  “

It’s an awkward space. There are good journalists and there are bad journalists. Getting people to understand the good ones is tough. It’s probably from social media, anybody can make a narrative.” Sports Journalist Mark Hayes said. 

Even with all the negatives that can come from the profession there are a lot of positives that come with being a Sports Journalist. 

“My favorite moment has been meeting Lebron James and his agent Rich Paul when I introduced myself. Lebron said that he knew who I was and that blew my mind,” Hayes said.

My favorite moment has been meeting Lebron James and his agent Rich Paul when I introduced myself. Lebron said that he knew who I was and that blew my mind.”

— Mark Hayes

 While talking to Medina, he said his favorite moment has been “ covering the NBA playoffs as well as doing in-depth stories”. 

One main problem sports journalists have to deal with is the stress that the job brings. Between the travel, managing more than one assignment at a time and reaching each deadline. 

According to Medina, the most challenging part of the job is the schedule.

“It’s a very unconventional schedule, there are long hours, you work nights, weekends, holidays, and have to juggle multiple assignments at once with various deadlines. But it is all worth it.” 

Hayes agrees.

“ The hardest part is the unknown. There is no schedule, you are working all the time and your phone always has to be on so you don’t miss the next big story.”

Even with all the changes to sports journalism many wonder if the stress is worth it. But if the passion and determination for sports is there, sports journalism is a job that is worth pursuing.