A sportswriter is a journalist who writes about sports for a living, often reporting not only on the games themselves, but the business and inner dealings of sports. Most sportswriters work for a newspaper or other type of news organization. The majority of sportswriters may never write about a professional sports team routinely, but rather focus their careers on local high school and colleges sports. Due to the fact there are more teams at these lower levels of competition, there are more opportunities.
Usually, a sportswriter will begin a career by covering high school sports, though some may get jobs covering colleges, or perhaps even professional sports, after having strong internships. The job covering high school sports gives the sportswriter a good background in a variety of sports. In most cases, writers will end up covering the same schools, but will likely cover many different sports. This helps provide full-time employment year round.
Sportswriting jobs often involve working long hours, late nights and over weekends, though many who do it find it enjoyable. Given the difficult schedule that a sportswriter may keep, the job may not be for everyone, especially those who have families, or who want to start families. Those interested in this career should also understand there will be some travel, though mostly local travel for high school teams.
In addition to covering games, sportswriters may have a number of other duties. In a newsroom, sportscasters and sportswriters will often be responsible for answering the phones at night, taking stats from other games that staff was not able to get to, and entering that information into the system for publication the next day. This can be quite tedious and time consuming, depending on how many different schools a newspaper may cover, and what the sports schedule is that day. In the industry, this is normally called entering agate information. Some sportswriters also write opinion columns on subjects of local interest relating to sports.
A sportswriter, especially those covering high school sports, will also report on other issues. These may be related to a sports budget at a school, when student athletes sign on with a college, or interviews with players and coaches. Therefore, while a sportswriter may focus on sports, the chance to develop skills as a balanced writer are still available. In fact, many sportswriters do decide to move into the general news area of a publication after spending some time in the sports department, simply because the hours are so much better.