What is a Sports Beat Writer? 7 Facts & Meaning

Sports Beat Writers are the people who cover local high school football, basketball, baseball, soccer and other sports in their respective communities.

If you have not been following high school sports coverage in your area, you probably do not know what a SBW is. The best part is, as an SBW, you get to write a little bit about sports that you love.

What is a Sports Beat Writer?

A “beat” can be a single news source or a group of news sources that all cover the same topic. Journalists who have beats write about certain places, people, or groups.

A sports beat writer is a journalist who writes about a certain sport, league, or team for a newspaper or magazine.

What is a Sports Beat Writer

During most of the year, the writer writes about the same thing. But some authors write about a lot of different things, especially when the seasons don’t overlap much.

Examples of Sports Beats

There are many ways to give out sports beats in the news business. A sports beat writer might be asked to cover anything from a single professional baseball team to an entire college basketball conference or even all of the high school football teams in a certain area.

A journalist might have to write about all of the college sports teams. Smaller newspapers may have fewer writers who cover many beats or beats with a wider focus, while larger newspapers in big cities are more likely to have many writers who each cover a specialized beat.

What is a Sports Beat Writer

Covering a Beat

In the world of sports, a “beat” is a specific area of coverage, and a “beat writer” is someone who writes about any news that happens to happen in that beat.

In the modern world, this could mean writing for both newspapers and online blogs. In addition to covering breaking news, the writer may also regularly write analysis and feature articles about the beat.

Developing Sources

To do their jobs well, sports journalists need to be able to trust the people they talk to in their own communities.

Writers often hear from sources about breaking news, inside information, or things that are going to happen soon, like the firing of a coach or the trade of a player.

How quickly and accurately a sports beat writer can break news is directly related to how good the sources he or she has.


A sports reporter will go wherever the team they are covering goes, whether it’s to a training camp or a game in another city. A journalist may have to spend a few weeks away from home to cover a training camp in a city that is not where the club is based.

This is a common thing for professional baseball teams in the U.S. to do when they go to Florida or Arizona for spring training.

What is a Sports Beat Writer

The writer may only stay one day or many days in a city before going home or moving on to the next stop on the team’s competitive season. A sports team’s road trip could last for weeks.

At the start of the 20th century, authors were often asked to go on trips with the team. Because of this, writers were often close to athletes, which gave them more access to information and, in some cases, helped them make real friends.

Some people think that this has led to less negative news about the team’s players. By the end of the 20th century, beat writers were going to the same places as the rest of the team on their own time.

Skills Needed

As a sports beat writer, it’s important to be able to write well. Also, he or she needs to know how to ask good questions to get honest answers from the people being interviewed. In the 21st century, you have to know how to use computers and do research on the Internet.

The person who writes about a sport or sports should know a lot about that sport or those sports. You don’t have to play certain sports, but it might be helpful to do so.

What is a Sports Beat Writer

Education and Training

Most of the time, you need a four-year degree to be a sports beat writer. Even though most beat writers have degrees in journalism, some may have studied in other fields before deciding to work in journalism.

Internships are a common way for people who want to be sports beat writers to work in the media while they are in school and after they graduate. A writer’s career usually starts at a smaller newspaper or a smaller beat at a larger daily.

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