Covering Baseball: Journalism and Broadcasting Careers

By Michael Rosenthal

Broadcasting and journalism careers in pro baseball offer the aspiring person the ability to be creative with the experience they may have gained playing pro ball. However, a broadcasting or journalism degree from an accredited university may also be the ticket if your experience on the field of play wasn't that lengthy or vast. Having that 'sheepskin' is a valuable commodity. Bear in mind that a diploma is not always a door opener into these fields. Sometimes you've got to crash the gates and prove yourself.

Broadcasting careers are not always plentiful to start with so the more mobile you are the better your chances at getting started. You need to realize two things right up front about being a network personality on either radio or television. First of all, there are usually three stages (see below) involved in eventually becoming what I call a key or permanent analyst/segment host. Secondly, the higher up the ladder you climb, the more scarce the positions become.

When it comes to broadcasting and journalism careers in pro baseball, understand that an education is definitely an advantage when it comes to starting on a career path in either of these fields. If you are determined to be an on-air personality or a sports columnist, and are already looking into getting an education first, then you are definitely on the right track. More importantly, I highly recommend that education, only because there are so many other areas where you can benefit from it.

In smaller radio and television markets, oftentimes the on-air personality does their own field reporting and interviewing, as well as their own script writing. So too is the case with the journalist in that they often go out and round up their own stories even after they have climbed another rung on the career ladder.

Whether you chose radio or television to pursue your goals, the three steps are basically identical in function when it comes to broadcasting and journalism careers in pro baseball. There is field reporting, substituting for the primary on-air personalities or columnist, or being the on-air personality or columnist. Field reporting is where you have to start and most likely that will be in a smaller media market. I've always considered the field reporter to be the grunt or information gatherer for the 'stars'. But you have to start somewhere. Just remember, with journalism, the real money comes when your column gets syndicated.

Journalism is very similar to broadcasting in the fact that you go out interviewing and reporting when you're at the basic or entry level. You need to establish a byline if you're ever going to get a column in a local paper, and it often requires writing and contributing without compensation, so keep that in mind. As with getting educated in broadcasting, a degree in journalism will provide you with other opportunities in writing such as freelancing like I do.

Mobility is the key with both broadcasting and journalism careers in pro baseball. You have the ability to freelance for a living, although freelancing comes more from the journalism side of the coin. I always recommend freelancing for the person who is just getting started and isn't completely positive about being on the air or writing a column.

The best part about freelancing when you are a 'creative' writer is that you can work in the comforts of your own home. All you need is a computer, the ability to write about all kinds of subjects creatively, and a handful of websites that will pay you for the content you produce. Or find sites where you can actually rent or sell your articles. Bear in mind that when you sell your article, you lose the rights to it and can never use it again. Certain sites allow you to choose between exclusivity and non-exclusivity where your name is concerned, and you will usually receive higher compensation if you give up your rights to the article when you sell it.

Also of interest Broadcasting/TV Jobs:

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