60 Second Interview: Sports Journalist (2023)


60 Second Interview: Sports Journalist (1)

We caught up with sports reporter, Eleanor Crooks, to find out about how she got started in journalism and how her current role as a tennis correspondent sends her all over the world.

60 Second Interview: Sports Journalist (2)

Name: Eleanor Crooks

Company: Press Association

Industry: Media

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What is your job? Sportsjournalist

How long have you been doing this job? I've worked at PA for 9 and a half years. I've been a reporter for the last four years.


University: Cardiff University

Degree Subject: Journalism. After my degree I did a post-graduate diploma in Newspaper Journalism

A-levels: Maths, chemistry and sports studies

Interests: Sport, travel, cinema, photography

Follow Eleanor on Twitter:@eleanorcrooksPA

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1. What was your very first job?

I was a waitress in a pizza restaurant when I was 18.

2. What made you want to do your current job?

I've always loved sport, but clearly was never going to be good enough to play it professionally, so when I was about 13 or 14 I started thinking what I could do to get a job in sport. Being paid to watch sport and write about it seemed the best option, so I decided that's what I would do - that simple! For me it was definitely the sport rather than the journalism that came first.

3. How did you get there?

I really had no idea what qualifications I neededto become a journalist and how difficult it might be at the start, but I think that might have been a good thing. My family are mostly scientists and I did not know any journalists.

I started getting work experience while still at school from age 16, on my local paper, writing reports for my football team, that sort of thing. I carried on doing this through university and then spent three months working on a newspaper in Romania between my degree and diploma. I studied journalism at university because that seemed to make sense, but in fact I would have been able to do the diploma whatever my degree. The diploma was very practical so that gave me lots of experience in the field and helped me find jobs to apply for.

Towards the end of that I sent out lots of applications and was offered a sports traineeship by the Press Association. I worked in PA's office for about seven years, initally working in various different departments, including on their Football League desk and Teletext sport. I then moved onto the main sports desk after about three years. I began to do bits of reporting and decided that was the direction I would like to move in, so when an opportunity came up, I went for it.

4. What is a typical day at work like?

There isn't really a typical day, which is one of the best things about the job. I recently became PA's tennis correspondent, so an increasing amount of my time is spent at tennis tournaments. I love tennis so it's a dream job for me, but it's certainly not all strawberries and cream! A normal day at a grand slam will involve arriving at the tennis centre an hour or so before the start of play to prepare for the day, then writing stories and reports, attending press conferences and interviewing players for as long as play continues.

I was at the Australian Open in January and my work day usually started around 10am and carried on until 2am, so it's pretty draining. We have a small team of reporters and an editor at Wimbledon but in Australia and at the French and US Opens, I'm on my own. Andy Murray is my main focus and I have to write one or two stories about him every day, whether he's playing or not.

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PA are the national news agency for Britain so our customers - papers, websites, broadcasters etc - are mostly British but not exclusively.I cover all the other British players as well and also write reports on the big international stars before wrapping up everything that's gone on at the end of each day.

If I'm not at a tennis tournament, then I work from home near Manchester, where my days can involve attending Premier League football matches and press conferences, conducting interviews and generally reporting on the day's sports news. I covered tennis, triathlon and modern pentathlon at the London Olympics, which was a real career highlight.

5. What’s the best thing about your job?

There's so many things but, as a big sports fan, getting paid to travel the world and watch some of the world's best sportspeople close up pretty much covers it.

6. What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The hours are very challenging and it can be extremely hectic with pressure to send in stories the moment they happen. We're very reliant on technology, so when the internet goes down or something goes wrong with our equipment it's very stressful. There's also a lot of competition between reporters, andsports journalism is still dominated by men, which does not always make my life easy.

7. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?

The biggest piece of advice I would give is get as much as experience as you can as early as you can. Qualifications are important and pretty much everyone in the media now has a degree at least, but work experience is likely to be the thing that marks you out. There is so much competition for increasingly few jobs, so getting your name known as someone who can be an asset is crucial.

If you're doing a degree or other course, make sure it will give you professional qualifications like media law, public administration and shorthand, and check out how successful the university or college has been in getting people into jobs.

Finally, I would say be open minded about your first job and what you work on.It's hard enough to get into journalism without narrowing your options before you've started. Nobody starts in their dream job, it's all about where it might lead.

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8. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?

I wish I'd known that I didn't need a degree in journalism. It was fun, but if I had my time again I would have done a different subject. Having expertise in different areas will give you more options within the media industry and there are plenty of excellent post-graduate courses. Being able to speak another language well would also be a big asset. The older you get, the harder it gets to learn!

9. How have things changed since you first started working in this industry?

I consider myself very fortunate to have got in to journalism when I did because the media industry has had a hard time of it over the last decade and there are a lot fewer opportunities now in traditional media.

On the flip side, technology is changing the industry all the time and opening up different avenues. Multimedia is now the norm and, although I am predominantly a written journalist, I'm also a trained video journalist and often do both.

The growth of Twitter has really changed things, probably more than anyone imagined. News travels so fast, which is a positive and a negative. The race to be first sometimesmeans that stories lose their accuracyand, once a story is out there, it takes on a life of its own.

For more on jobs in sport and media, check out our or Career Zones.


Lead image by johnwnguyen via Wikimedia Commons

Tags: how to become a sports journalist what qualifications do I need to become a sports journalist? how to find sports journalism work experience

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How do you pass a journalist interview? ›

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What questions are asked in a sports interview? ›

What do you believe to be one of your weaknesses and what are you doing to improve it? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of sports? Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a great athlete? Which sport is your favorite to play and why?

What should I ask a sports journalist? ›

Here are some common ones:
  • How did you get involved in your sport?
  • Tell me about the competition/event we're at today.
  • How do you think your team/a particular athlete played today?
  • Why is today's game important?
  • What are your predictions for the tournament/game/season?
  • How has playing this sport impacted your life?

Do long interviews mean anything? ›

The Interview Lasts Longer Than Scheduled

If your interview goes long, consider that a positive sign, says Weinlick. “When interviews run long, it means they were so interested in what you had to say that they forgot their other priorities and wanted to talk longer,” he says.

How many rounds is an interview on average? ›

Having three to four interviews just for an entry-level position may frustrate candidates but the number is sufficient for a more senior role. In the event where more than four or five rounds of interviews are required, it is best to provide a justification.

What are the 6 journalistic questions? ›

Journalists are likely to ask six questions in a crisis (who, what, where, when, why, how) that relate to three broad topics: (1) what happened; (2) What caused it to happen; (3). What does it mean.

What are the five questions of journalism? ›

The five Ws of journalism: who, what, where, when, and why, are key reporter questions that begin the process of piecing your story together, one fact at a time.

What are the five qualities of journalist? ›

If you are aspiring to make a career in journalism, you should have these qualities.
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  • Thorough Knowledge. ...
  • Investigative Skills. ...
  • Effective Communication Skills. ...
  • Professionalism and Confidence. ...
  • Persistence and Discipline. ...
  • Ethics are Important Too.
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How do I prepare for a sports interview? ›

Check out our modules on creating video highlight packages and creating shareable social media content.
  1. Do your research. ...
  2. Keep on open mind. ...
  3. Pick the perfect interview space. ...
  4. Adjust your camera's white balance. ...
  5. Use a tripod. ...
  6. Keep it simple. ...
  7. Test your equipment, audio and lighting before the interview.

What do you wear to a sports interview? ›

This means suiting up, bring a blazer, wear nice shoes. If the office has a business casual dress code (khakis and a nice shirt), you'll want to be in a blazer and nice pants. If the office has a casual dress code (jeans and a nice shirt), it's best to wear khakis and a crisp button-down shirt.

What Makes a Good Sport journalist? ›

What are the qualities of a sports journalist? As with any job that involves writing, sports journalists must have excellent writing skills, a well-developed ability to synthesize information and a strong sense of analysis.

Do sports journalists get paid well? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $75,500 and as low as $20,500, the majority of Sports Journalist salaries currently range between $33,500 (25th percentile) to $45,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $56,000 annually across the United States.

What are some good interview questions journalism? ›

General questions
  • What are the best qualities of your writing style?
  • Why do you want to work for our publication?
  • What topics would you like to cover for our publication?
  • How would you improve our publication?
  • Do you see yourself still working with us in five years?
  • How often do you use social media?

Is a 45 minute interview good? ›

38 percent of professionals voted that a good first interview should last 45 minutes. We agree! If your first interview lasted about 45 minutes, that is generally a good sign that the employer was interested in bringing you on board. If your interview was longer or shorter, keep reading.

How do you know if an interview went badly? ›

15 signs an interview went poorly
  • The interview length was short. ...
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Is it good if the interviewer talks a lot? ›

The more the interviewer talks about what is going on in their company and how you will fit in, the better. It means they are selling it to you and potentially see you as the answer to what they want.

Is a 55 minute interview good? ›

In-person job interviews last between 45 and 90 minutes on average. If an interview lasts 15 minutes or less, it's probably not a good one. If it's 30 minutes long, it's just not long enough. That said, 45 to 90 minutes is the golden number - and that's not just one of the random interview facts.

What percentage of interviews get offers? ›

Job seekers have a 36.89% chance of receiving a job offer after having one interview.

What percentage of interviews go well? ›

It's estimated that up to 75% of applicants aren't even qualified for the positions that they're applying for. This means as many as 98% of candidates don't make it to the interview process, and the 2% who do often have to go through multiple follow-up interviews.

What are the 7 elements of journalism? ›

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What are the 4 principles of journalism? ›

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Here are 10 elements common to good journalism, drawn from the book.
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These six questions are: what, why, when, where, who, and how. The 5Ws and 1H framework is a super simple but seriously effective method for collecting information. It's an easily memorized list that journalists and other researchers can reflect on whenever they're collecting information in the heat of the moment.

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The secret to getting those news placements is in understanding this news values list: impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, the bizarre, conflict, currency and human interest. The newsworthiness of a story is determined by these eight guiding principles.

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The average Journalist tends to be enthusiastic, persuasive, and much more focused on the big picture than details or process. The average Journalist likely feels most comfortable as a leader and is likely to be assertive and to push their teammates towards a successful outcome.

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What do sports recruiters look for? ›

Focusing on academic performance: Don't rely solely on athletic performance during the admissions process. Every prestigious college looks for well-rounded student-athletes who show exemplary academic performance, including a high GPA, outstanding test scores, and challenging high school courses on their transcripts.

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If the dress code at the office is relaxed, a sport coat with khakis or other smart slacks is acceptable to wear to interview. Don't try to match the color of your coat and slacks -- aim for contrasting but coordinating. Pair them with a button-front shirt,with or without a tie.

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When interviewing in person, be prepared to introduce yourself to the person who greets you, mentioning your name, the time your interview is scheduled, and who you're scheduled to meet with. Greet the hiring manager by stating your name and letting them know it's a pleasure to meet them.

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  • Connect on social media business networking sites.

Should you bring notes to interview? ›

It is 100 percent acceptable to bring notes to a job interview if those notes contain a list of questions you've prepared in advance to ask your interviewers. In fact, bringing this type of information to an interview demonstrates to the recruiter your genuine interest in the job opportunity.

How many candidates are usually interviewed for a position? ›

The typical employer will interview 6-10 candidates for a job, and candidates will go through at least 2-3 rounds of interviews before receiving an offer. If a hiring manager isn't able to find someone who fits their requirements in the first 6-10 candidates, they may interview more.

What color should you not wear to an interview? ›

Yellow, green, orange and purple

Orange, in particular, is considered the most inappropriate color for an interview and can come across as overly confident and unprofessional.

Can I wear jeans to an interview? ›

The answer isn't always cut and dry, but jeans are generally never appropriate interview attire, even if you're a student, you're applying for a part-time or hourly wage job, or you're interviewing with a tech company.

Can I use sneakers to interview? ›

While open-toed shoes and casual sneakers may be practical in warmer months, they can also be too informal for a professional interview. Even if worn with socks, open-toe shoes and sneakers are considered too casual for any gender at an interview.

How hard is it to get into sports journalism? ›

Sports journalism is a competitive yet exhilarating job prospect. However, it takes more than just a passion for sports to get settled into the industry. In addition to having a passion for sports, becoming a sports journalist requires you to have great writing skills and quality journalism experience.

What is expected of a sports journalist? ›

A good press officer in the football and sports industry will have a thorough understanding of their sport, the people that operate within it and how to spin a headline. They'll also be an astute communicator, whether written word or on camera.

What skills do sports journalists need? ›

Becoming a Sports Journalist

It more than just passion for sports to get into the industry, like any other jobs. It requires excellent writing skills, quality journalism experience, reading, interviewing, fact-checking and good research work to be a sports journalist.

Do sports journalists travel a lot? ›

There are no set hours and writers often telecommute, which means that you will often be working from home but also have to travel often to attend sporting events.

Is there a strong demand for sports journalists? ›

Increasingly, media outlets are covering sporting events and employing sports journalists. This step does not only provide better coverage and analysis for sports fans than ever before, but it also means that there are more job chances in the sports media industry than ever before.

How many hours a week do sports journalists work? ›

Most sports broadcasters who work for television and radio stations work a 40-hour workweek, but they may also need to work outside of the standard work hours, instead working some nights and weekends to make sure they cover games that take place during these times.

How long should a journalist interview last? ›

The perfect media interview lasts about five minutes. If you know how to handle yourself in a media interview, five minutes is plenty of time to tell your story and to give the reporter everything they need to complete their piece.

How do I ace a journalist interview? ›

10 Interviewing Tips for Journalists
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  2. Do Your Research. ...
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  5. Avoid Talking About Yourself. ...
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How long should a media interview be? ›

Depending on the topic of the interview and how pressing the subject matter might be, reporters are usually aiming for a natural, engaging interview. These types of conversations could range between 15 minutes to an hour and are great opportunities to explore concepts and ideas in detail.

How long does a written interview take? ›

Written job interview tests are usually completed by hand and last between 40 and 60 minutes.

How long is the average interview process? ›

Some companies may spend a few weeks on one phase, while others spend only a few days. At the same time, some employers may skip certain steps entirely. Factors that may impact the speed of the interview timeline include: A background check.

What does a 30 minute interview mean? ›

If your interview was 30 minutes long, then it was just long enough. Hiring managers will generally schedule about 30 minutes to interview a candidate for most position levels. If you lasted the full 30 minutes, you know that you answered the questions well.

What are the do's and don'ts of media interview? ›

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Is 6 minutes too long for an interview answer? ›

Interview answers should be 30 seconds to four minutes, depending on the context of the questions. Your response may be short (30 seconds to two minutes) if the question is simple. For example, if the hiring manager asks you to describe your strengths, you might speak for 90 seconds to explain where you're proficient.

Why are interviews 3 hours long? ›

Here are a few reasons employers may conduct three-hour interviews: It saves travel time. Candidates may need to travel across the country for in-person interviews, so the employers may interview candidates in one long visit instead of having them travel multiple times for two or three brief visits.

How do I know if the interview went well? ›

11 Signs your interview went well
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  3. You are told what you would be doing in this role. ...
  4. The interviewer seemed engaged. ...
  5. You feel sold on the company and the role. ...
  6. Your questions are answered in full.

How long is too long for an interview process? ›

The recommended timeframe for this is between two and four weeks. If the process takes any longer than four weeks, the risk of losing those A-level candidates to another company rises dramatically. How long is your organization's hiring process—both before and after top candidates have been identified?

Is a 50 minute interview good? ›

In-person job interviews last between 45 and 90 minutes on average. If an interview lasts 15 minutes or less, it's probably not a good one. If it's 30 minutes long, it's just not long enough. That said, 45 to 90 minutes is the golden number - and that's not just one of the random interview facts.

Is a 45 minute interview long? ›

The 45-minute interview

Forty-five minutes is what is considered the average amount of time a good interview should last. During this time, you'll have the opportunity to talk about your history, skills, education, and achievements while simultaneously sizing up the interviewer and company.

Can a short interview be good? ›

Sometimes interviews are short because everyone in the room has all the information they need. And often times, when everyone's on the same page this quickly, it means you did a pretty good job. So if an interviewer seemingly cuts a meeting short with you, don't panic.


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