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. A "beat" writer or reporter is someone who covers the same area over and over for his stories. It comes from the same usage for "beat" as in the beat of the heart or clock, meaning a regular and constant event. The job of a sports beat writer varies slightly from sport to sport, but the basic elements are the same. There are several qualities that a beat writer must possess in order to be successful. The qualities that a beat writer must have are dedication, knowledgeable, and accurate.
A sports beat writer often covers his or her team year-round, even during the offseason. The sports beat writer is typically required to cover every game the team plays – even on long ...view middle of the document...
A beat writer must be prepared under any circumstance. Beat writers work hard and they have to be on top of their game at all times, otherwise they will not output good articles. Besides knowing how to write and being on time to make deadlines, the hardest part is knowing the rules and everything that is going on in all sorts of different sports. According to Barry Wilner, “You must be able to identify the moves…You must understand the scoring system…know the strengths and weaknesses” (31).The writer must know what to look for at a given time. Not only does the writer have to look at what is happening but the writer also needs to write at the same time. In order for the beat writer to present a report about a game or match, he or she must get down all the important facts of the event and showcase them in a creative manner.
Another quality that a beat writer must possess is being accurate. If the beat writer is not accurate with what he or she is writing, they will get a negative response. The writer must present the report as accurate as possible to make the reader feel as if he or she is witnessing the game. “Beat writers tell a story so compellingly that readers love it whether or not they saw or listened to the game the day before” (Wilstein 12). It is easier for a beat writer to be more accurate in his reports when he or she is focused on only one team, while a beat writer focused on several teams in different sports might make the report not as accurate.
Indeed, accuracy, being knowledgeable and dedication are qualities a beat writer must possess. Without these qualities a beat writer would not be able to perform at a high level. Beat writer live to break news. They are the writers that give off a sort of aggression in the sports section and sometimes an easy side. If people missed a game or match, they depend on beat writers to tell the story as it happened. As Wilstein mentions in the Associated Press Sports Writing Handbook, “What it all comes down to in any sport is hard work and long hours, a desire to be fast and first with the news and, perhaps most of all, a love of words and a love of the beat” (32).