With a Twitter handle like @legsidelizzy you know Lizzy Ammon is one cricket superfan. Lizzy wrote this insider’s guide for Sports Liberated on how to be a cricket journalist just two years ago. Since then, Lizzy has become a cricket news reporter for The Times so I suggest her advice is still pretty useful! A single mum who came to cricket late in life, she warns it’s a difficult road and opportunities are few and far between.
I’m often asked for advice about how to get a job covering cricket. I’m, perhaps, not the best person to ask because I rather stumbled into it later on in life (I’m no spring chicken).
I got into cricket by being a scorer in club cricket – sticking dots in a book every Saturday for 20 years.
Then I just started blogging on my own blog, I combined that with use of social media and some very kind people gave me some opportunities for bits of work and slowly I built a portfolio.
Being a cricket journalist is not for the faint-hearted; it’s a pretty brutal industry and I make it even more complicated by being a single mum.
I have been very fortunate though, opportunities have come my way almost by accident and whilst it’s a hugely competitive industry with an ever decreasing number of jobs, there are still ways to earn money from covering cricket.
Sadly though, there is very little, if any, way of earning a living covering women’s cricket.
Winds of change
Domestic women’s gets very little coverage outside of the dedicated women’s blogs and the county websites. There is increasing coverage of England matches although that is still fairly limited.
The hope is that over time coverage of women’s cricket extends beyond the big England series and into the new Women’s cricket superleague starting next year. Also that women’s cricket becomes a regular feature in the newspapers and on general sports websites over and above the specialist cricket ones.
Four top tips
Whilst I’m always nervous about giving advice to those wanting to get into cricket journalism, I have a few suggestions.
1) It’s lovely to sit at cricket matches and write about what you’re watching but there are thousands of people who want to do it and can write pretty words. That’s only a small part of the job. Newspapers primary currency is if you can get and break exclusive stories. You only do that by building up contacts and sources and that takes a lot of time and energy. It’s hard but it’s probably the most important part of being a journalist
2) Don’t expect to get a full time paid job in cricket – they’re really aren’t very many. If you want to be a sports journalist it is better to be a generalist rather than a specialist in cricket
3) Start by finding something you are really passionate about – some element of the game and investigate a story in that area. Something from history or even something more controversial, like drug taking or match fixing. Be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy into researching a story or article. Then either self-publish or pitch it one of the various publications.
4) Keep writing, keep plugging away and most importantly keep enjoying cricket – be advised that when you move from being a cricket lover to a cricket journalist, your love of the game can be truly tested!
These are exciting times though and there are plenty of places well beyond the traditional newspapers to have your work published or for you to self-publish or broadcast your own video pieces.
Lizzy’s favourite crickety things
The alternative, best and really the only commentary you should listen to.
This is how a website should be and how blogging should be done.