As an aspiring sports journalist, I understand how difficult it is to break into one of the most competitive professions in the world. Although it takes a great amount of skill and experience to achieve your goals in this industry, one cannot expect to be a successful sports writer without a fine-tuned moral compass, a pronounced passion for the off-the-clock grind and a strong understanding of what journalism is. This is my attempt at defining those requirements.
No list of personal or professional values holds any weight unless they are accompanied by dedication, so the most important virtue for me is commitment. I always strive to work harder than my peers, straining myself and testing my limits in order to set myself apart. I stay up late to watch seven or eight NBA games a night, wake up early to write my stories and spend most of the day reviewing numbers and film. I am blessed with great natural writing ability, and I think pairing my talent with an undying work ethic allows me to produce to best possible work for myself and for readers.
Thinking outside the box and exploring avenues others haven’t is critical in the writing process. Molding your voice, prose and structure is a vital part of growing as a writer and I value originality and inventiveness. I believe a creative thought process and the ability to craft artistic narratives are crucial for sports writers, and I make a strong effort to make my writing stand out. I think I provide readers with a unique perspective and present my ideas in a distinct fashion. Providing a fresh outlook is also beneficial for my readers, who can expect a distinguished, enlightening and entertaining excursion anytime they read my work.
I am a sports fan. If I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be pursuing this profession. When I cover games, I still get jitters during tense moments and feel a rush of energy after electrifying plays; without those emotions, my connection to the game wouldn’t be as strong, and my writing would reflect that. I am also a fan of certain teams and players, whether that be because of their style of play, rich character or rewarding narrative. It is human nature to have subjective thoughts about a topic you spend a lot of time researching and discussing. I, however, pledge to be completely and wholly unbiased in my reporting on the athletes and teams I cover, with my opinions and preferences reserved for assignments where I am allowed more creative freedom.
Perhaps the most important responsibility for a journalist of any kind is to be accessible to his or her readers. If readers are able to understand a writer’s preparation and procedure, they are more likely to trust and respect the final product that they see online or in the paper. I believe being upfront and honest with readers about my reporting is critically important, because readers should have an expectation of total transparency and unwavering truthfulness.