Life in the Sports Office

By Patrick Wilson

Let’s be real, who would not want to work in sports for a career? You get paid to literally watch sports and go to games all the time – doesn’t that sound like an awesome job to have? The answer, however, is not that simple.

Currently a month into my internship in the sports department at WJLA, I have a whole new understanding about what a career in sports is like as a member of the media. Quite simply: it’s pretty challenging.

My first day at WJLA I was thrown straight into the fire because one of the anchors was out sick. I saw firsthand the daily stresses that my coworkers go through because television is 24/7, and when you have a show scheduled, you better have a show ready. That day, WJLA had three sports shows, so the mood was tense.

Working at WJLA, I’ve seen just how hectic producing content for a television show can be. I’ve seen how it can be even more hectic when your stories are often completed – sometimes only minutes –  before you need to talk about them live on-air. In the case of the High School Sports Wrap-up show, our producer will be in a room waiting to sort through highlights of games for three hours before the show. It is a very high stress, high pressure job that these producers make a career from.

In my experience, a common misconception of the sports department is that it’s a lazy department. This could not be further from the truth. On a weekly basis a sports reporter needs to find and edit content for the show, create web content, create social media content, and at WJLA, anchor up to three different shows per night. This includes being live in the field and working seven days a week.

When I go to work on the weekends, other than a few other reporters, the sports department is the only department in the office. There is never a day off in the sports media business, and I’ve seen the sports department put in some of the longest hours in a news station. If you are looking for, I have learned that no matter what your job title is, a “dream career” in sports requires a lot of time for the job.

Originally posted October 20, 2016

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