Twitter has plenty of memes and recognizable trends and one of them that’s permeated many a Twitterfeed in recent months is the “open question tweet” that asks you to quote tweet with an answer. You usually see it take two forms. It either attracts the kind of silly and absurd responses that we all originally came to Twitter for before it became a nightmare factory or it attracts earnest responses from people who want to share their personal insights for the greater good.
The latter happened right before the Fourth of July when journalist Colin Beswick, who covers the Boston Bruins for SB Nation’s Stanley Cup of Chowder blog, decided to ask a question pertinent to what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.
Sports media people, if you could give one piece of advice to those trying to break in to sports journalism, what would it be?
— Colin Beswick (@CBeswick) July 2, 2018
On his blog, Beswick explained that he posted the question with the hope that “people far more accomplished and wise than myself would share a lesson or two from their career, that may in turn help many of you as you start on your journey.” In the days since, he certainly got that and more as writers big and small from all kind of outlets chimed in with their thoughts, advice, and tips on how to navigate the climb in the tricky and perilous world of sports journalism. Here are just some of the advice given by journalists from ESPN, The Athletic, CBS Sports, and many other outlets (and backgrounds).
Zig when other media zag. Don't follow the pack and produce the same-old stories. Create unique content and differentiate yourself. Don't be afraid to ask the questions that need to be asked.
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonAspen) July 4, 2018
Listen. Ask every question you think needs answering. Write every day— it’s like working out. Outwork everyone. Don’t take the cheap route and go for shocking headlines. Tell the story that’s there. And when he herd goes left, you go right. Set yourself apart the right way. https://t.co/6AYlQvQRrH
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) July 4, 2018
Better to be right than first https://t.co/kx7VYSe7ay
— Jeannine Edwards (@jeanninee12) July 4, 2018
Don't become a reporter if your goal is to be famous and on TV. The work isn't about you. It is NEVER about you. It's about THEM. It's about truth, honesty and impact. No person is ever obligated to share his or her story with you. That is a privilege and you must earn it. https://t.co/8z3IcFnn4n
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) July 4, 2018
In no particular order: Recognize opportunity, create opportunity, seize opportunity. And be empathetic. https://t.co/1Q28LAWDUI
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) July 4, 2018
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO NOT ONLY CONSUME SPORTS JOURNALISM https://t.co/buKffSucwY
— David Rudin (@DavidSRudin) July 4, 2018
Love the journalism more than the sports. https://t.co/hSIFJlsziN
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) July 4, 2018
Blog and try to get freelance pieces published before applying for jobs and internships. Show you can write and act like a professional before you ever get to the newsroom because there aren't enough editors anymore and nobody has time to babysit. https://t.co/g8IRmCgJjR
— James Gordon (@James_J_Gordon) July 4, 2018
Talk to everyone who’s willing to have a conversation, even if (maybe especially if) it’s off the record. You never know when you’ll need those connections later while you’re working a story. https://t.co/d4StbGjvas
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) July 4, 2018
Be willing to accept constructive criticism. https://t.co/1HK3AEbSRQ
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) July 5, 2018
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) July 5, 2018
Regardless of where they stand on issues, who they work for, and what they personally believe, nothing quite brings sports journalists together like talking about sports journalism. You can check out the many, many other responses to the question here.