Sports Journalism

What is the sports journalism module?

The sports journalism module is only taken by trainees on our NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism, introducing you to the concepts at the heart of sports reporting.

Sports journalism trainees do the same modules and exams as our fast-track and part-time trainees, but with one key difference: you will also do the NCTJ sports journalism module to prepare you for life as a sports journalist.

You learn how to file ‘on the whistle’. We’ll introduce you to dressing in quotes, quotes-led rewrites and round-ups. We’ll explore interview skills, colour writing, picture editing and social media collation.

You’ll cover all these key skills and more, as we continually adapt our sports journalism module to keep up with changes in the industry. You will be expected to live blog, live update a Twitter feed and create SEO-friendly content for websites. 

Screenshots and photos of Times Sports pieces written by our sports trainees, including an interview with an Olympic hurdler and a guide to the Euros
NA grads Harry Garside and Tomás Hill Lopez-Mencher for The Times Sport.

Why should I train to be a sports journalist with News Associates?

When the NCTJ wanted to develop a specialist sports journalism module, they turned to the reporters and editors at our own sports news agency, Sportsbeat, to shape the syllabus and design the examination.

Every year Sportsbeat supplies over 70,000 stories to a client base of media titles, event organisers and international and national sports associations, including the British Olympic Association, Football Association and British and Irish Lions.

Covering more than 40 sports at local, regional, national and international level, the NCTJ recognised we were ideally placed to help shape and teach this qualification – because, as employers, we know the skills needed from graduate reporters.

What makes a good sports journalist?

We believe sports journalism is so much more than knowing the latest footie scores.

On all of our courses you will first and foremost learn how to be a great reporter, and the sports journalism course is no different.

Graphic of Josh Graham winning student sports journalist of the year at the NCTJ awards for excellence: “I’m extremely chuffed to win this award. Despite finishing the last few months at News Associates during the pandemic, it was a great experience with fantastic colleagues and certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’d like to thank the tutors for all the help and extensive knowledge they imparted.”
NA grad Josh Graham won NCTJ student sports journalist of the year 2020!

You will soon learn that sports news increasingly dominates not only the sports editor’s agenda, but also the news pages…

Sport is big money. Premier League clubs have combined annual revenues approaching £3 billion while some estimate the 2022 Fifa World Cup will cost more than £138 billion to stage.

Sport is big business. The International Olympic Committee and world governing body FIFA have major brands lining up to contribute more than £1 billion in marketing rights while American broadcaster NBC recently paid £2.7 billion to broadcast the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games.

Sport is big politics. Just witness the world leaders queuing up to help secure their countries major events – Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have all made time in their schedules for politicking at sporting gatherings.

And when these three combine there are, inevitably, big stories. We’ll train you how to spot these stories, dig deeper and join the ranks of our impressive alumni working everywhere from Sky Sports to MailOnline Sport.

Want to become a sports journalist? Read this advice from trainees who have done our sports journalism courses.

Kishan Vaghela, MailOnline Sport, gives his testimonial: News Associates was the most intense yet most rewarding training I've ever experienced. The team covered every detail in the field and opened my eyes to what I could learn by going outside my comfort zone. The skills you acquire are invaluable and help you understand what employers are looking for. Whenever I'm on a story, I still refer to my NCTJ training. The tutors make sure you're in good stead to go into the world of work from the moment you finish the course.

Racing Post's Jonathan Harding's testimonial: News Associates gave me the skills and confidence to hit the ground running in my first job. From helping us arrange work experience to providing invaluable advice, the tutors treated us like fully-fledged journalists from the moment we arrived.