Tips for Aspiring Golf Journalists

Myself and the Legendary Sportswriter and Broadcaster Michael Wilbon (Left) at the Legendary Chicago Theater.

Myself and the Legendary Sportswriter and Broadcaster Michael Wilbon (Left) at the Legendary Chicago Theater. He has Covered Numerous Golf Events Including the Ryder Cup

Hall of Fame Golf Writer and One of Greatest Figures in Golf History.

Dan Jenkins: Hall of Fame Golf Writer and One of Greatest Figures in Golf History.

Journalism, to me is one of the most beautiful things in the world. It’s a combination of art and science and truly puts one’s words into the hearts of thousands, maybe millions worldwide. The way a writer puts his or her own words on to paper or on a webpage, it’s like looking at beautiful painting but, in the form of words where the reader will put pictures in his or her own head. The way the radio and television reporters report and speak through the mic. It’s like poetry. Probably the best feeling in the world is when you publish get an article published on a website or in a newspaper and when you do a radio show and you did some good producing and research before the show, to do a rich informative show for listeners and then when you book a guest on a show. When I was able to get legendary golf course architect Pete Dye (Creator of TPC Sawgrass) on, that was an incredible moment for me and I will never forget that for as long as I live.

Another great feeling is when you do a podcast and do some good producing with it to make it sound extra crisp before you send it out to the Program Director at the station like when I did some of my first Hot Corner Report podcasts and then to hear it live is an chilling feeling but in a good way and still get the joy to this day when I do the Hot Corner Report podcasts. The only thing I haven’t done yet but really want to do is film myself interviewing golfers and putting the videos up on YouTube (Hey, stay tuned *Wink Wink*) which I think would be cool and fun. But then you have a lot of people who dislike media. Oh really? Well, all of your favorite celebrities and athletes (Or so called future boyfriends and girlfriends) wouldn’t be NOTHING without the media, because how would they get themselves out there? They get discovered and the media puts them on TV, in the papers and on blogs. They would still be at home if it weren’t for everyone in the media who bust their butts off to do their jobs. Plus, people still read, watch and listen for news anyway so give it up, you’re addicted to what the media has to offer in your daily lives (Heheh!). One of the coolest thing about journalism is the fact that there are some sweet perks, for example, I went to cover a sports radio anniversary roast at the Chicago Theater for online radio station SportsTownChicago.com.

The ticket was between $50 and $100 I believe and I was able to get in for free with my credential. So, here I am, an 18 year old boy, just walking into one of the most legendary theaters in the world like “Hey! What’s good homie?” (Ok, I didn’t say that of course), seeing all of these big name sports journalists like Michael Wilbon of ESPN and Dan Mcneil (Who was the host of the event) as well as New York comedian Bobby Collins and NFL legend and Chicago Slaughter head coach Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and I’m just walking around like it’s no big deal and of course people were staring at me and I loved it. Was I nervous? Absolutely, but once I interviewed a few of the guys including Michael Wilbon and Dan Mcneil, it was getting comfortable to me and I was able to enjoy the roast for free which was a blast. Anytime, you see a big star in your journalism career, you’re going to a little nervous on the approach but when you go up to them, stay professional , do not get star struck because they’re people just like you and be respectful and have thick skin at the same time. Also, be aggressive with your interviews.

Don’t be afraid to get as many interviews as you can because sometimes you may not get the best answers from certain people and need better quotes for an article and the same goes for radio, get good soundbytes (quotes on the airwaves) as this helps readers look at what others have said with different thoughts in a sports article and gives the radio listeners a different voice in there and gives YOU, the host a bit of a break because you can save your breath when you play an interview or soundbyte from an interview which by the way, interviews are a great way to throw other voices and opinions on your radio show, podcast or YouTube show or vlog. You can also write blogs on sites like WordPress (Hmmm, never heard of that place before), Blogger and if you want to do your own podcasts, you can get USB microphones from places like Best Buy or Radio Shack and use websites like Pod-O-Matic where you can upload shows that you recorded on Adobe Audition or other sound recording programs or you can try Blog Talk Radio’s website where you can host a show through there.

Also, social media is very important when hosting a podcast, online radio show or blog because it extends your show or blog out to other networks which can build your audience. So even if you think you’re just a writer or radio host, try using YouTube for video reports, interviews and vlogs because YouTube is great with monetizing and building your audience but be sure to put links of your blog and/or podcast in the description after each upload so that way when people look at your videos, then they may spot your links and want to take a look, after all, new readers, listeners and viewers want to know more about you and if they like you then you never know, those readers, viewers or listeners could be potential employers. If you plan on doing interviews through YouTube, I’d say be sure to use a recorder while you interview your person even if the audio on your camera is good because it’s always good to have audio so you can put it on Adobe Audition for producing. Speaking of audio, Sound Cloud is a great way to upload any audio you recorded so you can share through social media sites and your blog and if you haven’t noticed yet, Sound Cloud is what I use when I upload sounds to this blog and it comes out nice and crisp.

You can also use Movie Maker to place a picture with your audio so you can save it as a movie file to upload to YouTube as an audio file but if you can, try to keep it 3 minutes or less since YouTube is meant for visuals, people may not want to hear ten minutes of just talk unless your audio becomes successful on YouTube then you can probably extend it because people want more. As for the writing side of things, try to write at least two to three times a week so you can keep your blog fresh for readers to come back for more of your writing excellence. Also, another thing you can do is have your own domain name so that it makes your blog look more professional and will look GREAT on business cards. The WordPress “Learn WordPress” link at the very bottom of the screen is a great way to learn how to build an audience and get more hits. Wait, what’s that? You want to get a gig right away? Ok, well, what i recommend is that if you’re into writing, contact your local newspaper and see if they let you cover golf for the local high schools or cover some local amateur tournaments which is a great way to cover fresh young talent that could be PGA Tour stars in the future.

They might also possibly let you write part time for their website but if you email them, be sure to give them anything you have, writing samples, demos, links to your blogs, resume etc. Show them why YOU are a good candidate so you can definitely contact the local paper’s sports editor to see if you get a shot at covering local area golf which will eventually build to bigger and better things and if they tell you that you have to cover other sports too then do it because you may end up covering golf anyway and this is a great way to network with other writers which can open the door to the next level because they know you and they can let their bosses know that you’re a good person to call or email for a sweet gig. As for radio and TV, the best way to get your foot in the door is contacting a local radio station or TV station to see if they would let you intern with them which can eventually lead to you covering golf if you let them know where your interests are and like with working with newspapers, this is a very good network opportunity.

The interning duties at a radio or TV station may include different tasks that aren’t wanted such as getting coffee for the hosts or doing other errands but then there are other great opportunities too such as helping out with production. Small town stations are a GREAT way too get a lot of hands on experience and get great contacts. Don’t get me wrong, interning at a big city station is great too because it gives you good city station experience and also gets you great contacts but you will get more hands on experience in a small town station and will probably get just as great of contacts as the bog city stations but if you want to contact a city station for an internship then go for it! There’s nothing wrong with it whatsoever. Finally, before you finish your internship or part time gig with a newspaper, website, TV or radio station, make sure to grab as many phone numbers (From employers and not hitting on girls…well maybe that too), emails, business cards and any other info possible from the people you worked with because they may have connections that can lead you to another great job and be sure to work hard and give %1781889919188 so that the employers you worked/interned for will remember you because they respected your hard work and effort. TRY YOUR BEST! Also, be sure to get info from the person who is in charge of sports at your newspaper or station because they may have connections with GOLF MEDIA PERSONALITIES and/or WRITERS and that’s what you wanted right? Sweet!

And while you’re at your internship/part time gig, be sure to enjoy it and have fun! This is a fun and rewarding business and remember that you’re blessed to be in the position that you’re in regardless if it’s a local newspaper or radio station because eventually you’ll rise up in the ranks anyway. So, try your best, work hard, persevere, NEVER let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do, never give up and always stay humble and the reward will be big. I hope this helped, I know this was a long post but I really want to get this out there for aspiring golf journalists and journalists in general because this really is a great industry and there are so many ways you can get involved with it and touch so many lives with the stories you write and the words you choose. Stay fresh WordPress. Colin, out.

Do you have questions in regards to this post? Do you need advice about your journalism career? Then please do not hesitate to email me at colinm5598@yahoo.com or tweet me on Twitter: @ChiGolfRadio


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Is Golf Media Rising or Falling?

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As golf starts to get more popular as time goes on, the media remains a huge part of the action on and off the course. The question that must be asked is, is it rising or falling? If it’s rising then this
would be great for the game because without great media coverage, the game of golf would be nothing as with any other sport, but golf media is unique because to cover so many different events all around the world and that’s what makes it awesome because every approach of the coverage is different from another because each enviornment is changed and so does the list of players in the event. There are a lot of great broadcasters and writers in the golf industry and it shows with many great stories and analysis. The one thing that most people who think the game is boring may find interesting is that play-by-play on the radio for golf sounds better than ont TV even though, nothing against play-by-play on TV but the radio is just better because the broadcaster is more descriptive than on the TV because the action is right in front of his or her face.

The listener can just hear the swing of the club from tee to green and the sound of the wind blowing on a blade of grass not to mention it sometimes seems like there’s two color commentators out there as the play-by-play man will give his thoughts as well and be precise on stats and hole history at a certain just like the color guy although the color guy of course is extra precise on his thoughts. The writing side of golf media is like poetry, it flows with words and phrases that only golf can bring to writing. Fairways, greens, off the tee, touch around the greens, etc. Words or phrases like those help shape the way sportswriters write and that’s why golf media is so beautfiul and that’s way it should keep growing. The combimnation of great players, courses and tournaments make the game unique already, but throw in a guy with a microphone or somebody with a pen or laptop and fans get some of the best coverage in sports anywhere.

Golf media is very under rated and it’s obvious but the way the game is evolving , it looks to open the doors for future golden mics and platinum pens and keep the game as beautiful as it already is.

(Images above, David Feherty and Jason Sobel, writer for GolfChannel.com)


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