If you are interested in MMA journalist jobs, it will certainly help your efforts to get a college degree in English or journalism. While many of those in top MMA sports writer jobs do not have formal degrees, it can only benefit you to have training. Beyond education, if you want to work in sports, love writing, and enjoy mixed martial arts, the below tips will help fuel your success.
14 Tips to Start Your MMA Journalist Career
Tip #1 – Get your start small.
There is not a lot of local press, so you will have your best bet initially at that level, noted US Combat Sports owner Gary Stevens. For instance, many aspirants to MMA journalist positions form relationships with school papers or local websites. If the organization has a good reputation, these connections can lead to breaking stories; event and gym access; and cage-side credentials.
Tip #2 – Know the basic rules.
MMA journalist jobs require the same firm grasp of AP style and standards for grammar/punctuation as any reporting positions do.
Tip #3 – Get everyone’s comments.
Those who perform poorly in these MMA sports media jobs think they should just talk about the event and get interviews with fighters. Expand your scope: talk with judges, announcers, people in the audience, and even other reporters. Talking to more people provides a fuller sense of the atmosphere and what takes place. You also potentially uncover new stories.
Tip #4 – Verify you have press seating.
If you are a journalist craving these jobs in sports, you want to have a laptop so you can rapidly record what takes place. Press seating will give you a spot to put the computer. Contact the event promoter and let them know you would like press tickets. Include information about the site where your coverage will be published.
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Tip #5 – Keep getting better.
These MMA jobs rely on your up-to-the-minute knowledge. Consume as much media as you can about the sport as well as about journalism. Be as compelling and engaging as you can with what you write. Always be improving.
Tip #6 – Put in the effort.
It is not easy to become successful in this competitive field, but you can overcome the odds with diligence. MMA journalist Ariel Helwani said that he wrote 30-50 social media messages every day to fighters to get his first interviews.
Tip #7 – Work with an accomplished editor.
MMA journalist jobs may arise after you have connected and developed rapport with an editor. The relationship will be useful even if they just give you comments or answer occasional questions. Treat the critiques and recommendations from the editor very seriously. Be humble.
Tip #8 – Contract with a media outlet.
Whether you go local (see Tip #1) or otherwise, you can beef up your resume while building an audience through a relationship with a credible media outlet. In that way, you can focus on producing pieces for the company and access its benefits. Stevens suggested a more solid paycheck could help create stability with these jobs in sports, rather than immediately going the freelance route.
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Tip #9 – Be prepared.
MMA sports media jobs can be unforgiving when it comes to preparation. Make sure you have backups of equipment and that everything is fully charged.
Tip #10 – Follow journalistic ethics.
Mike Russell noted that journalistic ethics are central to success. Professionals in the industry expect you to understand core ethical principles for MMA journalist jobs. According to the Ethical Journalism Network, the five core principles are impartiality, accuracy, independence (i.e., absence of a conflict of interest), accountability (correcting errors, etc.), and humanity (ensuring not to harm anyone).
Tip #11 – Look for uncovered topics.
Rather than simply recounting what occurred at the most recent UFC event, you will excel in these sports jobs by going into untapped territory. Talk about the reasons behind occurrences and what might happen in the future.
Tip #12 – Differentiate yourself.
Helwani noted the importance of developing your own personal style. Create your own space with these MMA jobs, offering a unique experience that readers cannot get elsewhere.
Tip #13 – Try for MMAJA membership.
Be aware of the loophole in joining the MMA Journalists Association (MMAJA). The general rule is that you start getting published or get your first editorial role for MMA before joining the group. The MMAJA requires that you produce “original journalistic work,” whether by writing or editing reports on the sport. However, the organization’s rules and regulations state that you can be individually considered for membership if you are an MMA journalist who does not meet those parameters.
Tip #14 – Get connected.
If you want to work in sports and are looking for your start in MMA journalism, you need to be aware of open positions. Since connections are so critical, you can greatly improve your chances with the premier network for professionals within the sports industry. Join our network for today.