Sports is another name of passion, and Bangladeshi people have a full dose of that feeling in their hearts. Sports fan base of Bangladesh is enormous irrespective of gender, class, profession, etc. But surely the hype can be seen in the younger generation the most. As a result, younger generation is seemingly interested in turning this passion into a career choice i.e. sports journalism and blogging. But what are the opportunities and challenges of this career path and how can a person prepare for it?
The Financial Express arranged a discussion on its new online platform, 'Echo- by the Financial Express,' focusing on the topic 'Career in Sports journalism and Blogging'-- hosted by Mohammad Saiful Islam. It was the first episode of 'Career talk with young professionals.' Meer Raihan Masud, a sports journalist of BBC Bangla, and Priyom Mozumdar, founder and managing director of Pavilion were the guests who discussed the topic and shared opinions based on their knowledge and expertise.
For a huge sports crazy population, there was no specialised sports content platform till the advent of Pavilion in 2014. In fact, this market gap, demand, and the love for sports was the reason behind the creation of Pavilion by Mr Mozumdar, who comes from a completely different background, which is chemical engineering. He believes that there is still a lot to add in this sector and the young generation can grab the opportunity.
The trend of sports writing or blogging, however, has become easier than before as sports lovers take social media to express their opinion and observation. But, is there a possibility of social media overshadowing sports journalism? When asked about this, Raihan Masud had something else to tell. "Social media is the new normal while the mainstream media is the base," he said. In a sense, instant dissemination of information on social media can affect journalism since people do not have to wait or search for news updates. "But, sports journalism won't be overshadowed because of the trust and reliability issue," said Mr Mozumdar. There are positive sides of social media as well. The trend of sports writing will help the young generation emerge as potential writers, and some of them will definitely make their mark in the professional world.
Sports journalism is often considered the easiest form of journalism; but is that true? Both the guests agreed that sports journalists have the freedom to reveal the truth or criticise famous personalities as there is no political barrier. However, sports are related to emotion and passion; it stimulates joy and sadness. A journalist-- even being a passionate fan of a particular team or player-- must put those aside while writing news. Also, sports journalists must be fast thinkers to keep pace with the unpredictable and constantly changing results of the games. A proper articulation of a match that sways like a pendulum is never easy, neither is writing an instant match report at midnight.
Currently, Bangladesh is witnessing a boom in appreciation for sports journalism. It was unthinkable even a few years back. Newspapers used to have a half-page section for sports-related news. In contrast, nowadays, during the World Cup or other significant events, special editions come out with heavy coverage. And the scenario is not any different around the world. Instead, it is more developed in other countries. Many organisations and educational institutions are providing sports scholarships. Many sports associations like FIFA have their own sports blogging section where people from Bangladesh can also apply and work. Nevertheless, Bangladesh is doing fine gradually.
At the end, both the guests talked about how to prepare oneself for sports journalism. They commonly agreed that passion is a must. Without the passion and love for sports, it not possible to write about it. Thousands of sports lovers will read the news and to reach their hearts, it has to be emotionally catching. Also, a sports journalist must have the habit of reading, watching, following famous sportsmen's lifestyle, listening to the commentary carefully, observing playing style, etc. And that is when a sports lover becomes a sports journalist and sports news becomes beautiful.
Though many people have this perception, an educational background does not matter to become a journalist. In fact, both the guests referred from their experience that a significant number of the famous journalists they are familiar with have no connection or a degree in journalism. Although many hesitate to dedicate themselves here due to shaky job security, if one is willing enough to chase their passion, s/he can surely achieve big in this profession.
The writer is currently pursuing BBA at Dhaka University. She can be reached at [email protected]