Journalism or sports journalism degree ?

(48 Posts)
starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 15:26:30

Any advice. Ds unsure which route to go. He is interested in sports but concerned he may be narrowing his options just doing it for his degree.

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Sun 03-Nov-19 15:29:06

Neither - I considered doing journalism but asked a few journalists and editors who all said ‘nooooo - do something else but get experience writing for magazines and journals’. I know a few journalists and none have for down that route either.

I guess it’s too specific and if you change your mind after 3 or 4 years you have cut down your options.

starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 15:50:53

Thanks for your reply. Yes I get that it may be narrowing to do a degree in journalism but he has his heart set on it. Did they advise you to not do journalism at all or just not via a degree ?

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Sun 03-Nov-19 15:55:16

Not via a journalism degree! Most journalists I know gone via another route - so have worked in a specific industry or gone into a magazine/paper and worked their way up. I think the industry is very different now - so much is online (and amateur!).

He should (I suggest) follow his passion and try to do some freelance pieces and see where it leads. Maybe do some creative writing classes at night school.

Haffdonga Sun 03-Nov-19 16:18:59

It depends very much why he wants to do it.

If he's doing a journalism degree (either sports or general) because he wants to do a subject he's interested in and have a good time at uni then great.

If he's doing it because he wants a career as a journalist (or sports journalist) then I'd suggest he looks at the stats for how many people end up working in journalism having done the course. Very few I guess.

starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 16:39:26

The uni we visited today said 4 out of 5 graduates end up in some journalism related job. I guess the unis are selling the course though.

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Sun 03-Nov-19 16:41:53

The key word is ‘related’! That could mean a blogger or social media ‘personality’!

I just wrote to/called to papers and magazines and asked the question ‘should I study journalism as a pure degree or something else’. I even had an interview with a local rag and had a chat with the editor. The response was ‘we like people who have had experience elsewhere or have expertise in a field’.


frozentree Sun 03-Nov-19 17:02:25

My husband is a sports journalist for an international news agency (currently on route home after 8 weeks in japan at the rugby world cup!). His undergraduate degree was in languages and his masters in international relations. He started off in news (focusing on the countries speaking the language of his degree) and transferred to sports after 5 years with no work experience of sports reporting but a huge passion and active sports life.

The young UK graduates coming in to work at his company nowadays tend to have undergraduate degrees in a wide range of subjects (often a joint degree with a language but rarely journalism), with a masters (possibly but not always in some kind of journalism) and work experience in any kind of reporting/writing role - local paper, online media, agency, tv, blogging etc. This type of experience is often the most important factor so I would say a journalism degree is not vital unless it is absolutely the degree he wants to study. Hope this is of use.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Sun 03-Nov-19 17:22:14

Yes ‘passion’. DH ended up writing about an area he wasn’t ‘trained’ in but was passionate and curious about. I guess you need that to be able to do the investigative stuff.

You also need stiff nerves in some areas too. My job may be rubbish some days but at least I don’t have ‘fans’ and threats!

GoodGriefSunshine Sun 03-Nov-19 17:28:41

Take a look at the course modules. Some journalism degrees will have optional modules that include sports. So he could do a general journalism degree and select sports within it.

Do whatever degree he wants. If he loves the idea of doing any sort of journalism degree, don't let people put you and him off. He will do best in what he loves.

exexpat Sun 03-Nov-19 18:06:57

I know quite a lot of journalists, and none of them has a degree in journalism. I would guess a lot of journalism graduates end up in PR or copywriting jobs, though I met someone recently whose daughter did a journalism degree and she has ended up being a holiday tour rep. The most recent person I know who has got a real, full-time, decently-paid job in journalism on national publications (like gold dust these days) did a language degree but has been blogging and freelancing since his mid-teens.

Most people seem to get into actual journalism through freelancing, internships or if they are very lucky, traditional traineeships, but there are few of those around these days. There are some one-year post-grad diplomas in journalism that have a good reputation, but they are correspondingly difficult to get a place on.

Given the amount of debt he would get into, I would encourage him to look for a degree with wider applicability.

starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 19:07:52

Thankyou so much everyone for your replies. He already has a successful football blog for a premier league football team and blogs for his own cricket team. He also volunteers for a company doing content writing for businesses. I don’t doubt his passion and drive but worry a lot about him achieving a job at the end. Lots to discuss with him. He is very keen to go to university so maybe another degree might be the way forward.

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starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 19:10:45

GoodGriefSunshine yes we looked at a course like that today and that’s what has raised the question to do journalism rather than just focusing on sports.

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Neighneigh Sun 03-Nov-19 19:16:23

I remember going to a careers talk at the BBC once and they said very clearly, get a degree in a traditional subject (English history, a language) first, unless you aim for somewhere like City where their journalism courses are extremely highly regarded.

daisypond Sun 03-Nov-19 19:26:24

I would advise against it too - not journalism or sports journalism. I work in a journalism/publishing field, and only one person has a journalism degree. There’s a huge range of other subjects, from electronic engineering to Russian. Media Studies, sometimes much derided, might be a better option.

MoggyP Sun 03-Nov-19 19:29:16

Agree with neighneigh

It's amazingly competitive. Get a good degree in any subject he's passionate about (essay writing or performance useful but not esssential). Volunteering on local radio amazingly useful, as is writing for or editing student newspapers; everyone blogs these days so a good one is expected. Work experience in PR dept of a sports organisation is very helpful, or in communications/social media dept of an events management company (pref sports events)

Then masters at City.

And then fingers crossed and hope for the best

Piggywaspushed Sun 03-Nov-19 19:30:11

I think now there are actually some very good journalism degrees (I mean, come on, Sheffield of the beloved RG offers it!) and still some poorer ones.

I have several ex students who are now working in sports journalism with degrees in journalism. One is now a producer at Sky. However, His DF was an ex professional footballer. It's often not what you know!!

My DS toyed with this degree but he found it too IT/ faffing about with cameras focused.

What was the uni ?

dodgeballchamp Sun 03-Nov-19 19:35:08

I am a journalist. Do not do a journalism degree! It counts for absolutely nothing. Do the NCTJ diploma which will get him experience in real newsrooms - the experience is the most important part. I started doing a journalism degree and dropped out after one year, I have no degree at all and no formal training but after pestering and begging for work experience and getting some ‘names’ on my CV via freelancing I now work for a major broadcaster. Not very many people from my course are now journalists.

Trewser Sun 03-Nov-19 19:35:22

Oh let him do journalism as a degree! If he loves it. Sounds like he'd be perfectly suited to it.

starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 19:39:37

Piggywaspushed he looked at Sheffield but it had no sports module. We went to Nottingham Trent.

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bluejelly Sun 03-Nov-19 19:40:01

To be honest, if he's committed, hard-working and talented he'll succeed no matter what degree he does.

starrynight19 Sun 03-Nov-19 19:41:21

dodgeballchamp is that different from doing an nctj accredited course ?

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daisypond Sun 03-Nov-19 20:01:16

Is it possible for him to take a gap year and do internships and more work experience? He sounds quite driven and committed. It could lead to fully paid work.

Piggywaspushed Sun 03-Nov-19 20:20:52

NTU is where said Sky producer studied.

dodgeballchamp Sun 03-Nov-19 20:41:34

starrynight yes, the diploma alone is shorter than a degree and generally more highly regarded

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