What They Do
In the world of sports, a media relations specialist is responsible for building and maintaining a positive relationship between the sports organization and newspapers, broadcasters and other media outlets.
Communication is obviously the most important aspect of this job — the ability to write and speak well so that the media is well-informed. Many media relation’s jobs involve responsibilities like writing news releases; engaging with the media through email, phone, news conferences or face-to-face conversations; and supervising the maintenance of a team’s media presence on social media and the Internet.
Media relations specialists may use third-party endorsements to relate messages and to brand or re-brand a team or organization in order to engage a larger audience. This is part marketing and part communications. It can be very useful to have a background in subjects such as:
- sport management
- public relations
Understanding both the sports industry, as well as having a working knowledge of the mass media, is essential to success in a media relations position.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that public relations jobs will grow 12 percent by 2022. This is an average rate. The growth is due to the diversification of the media influenced by the Internet. Media relations professionals must interact with not only newspaper, radio and television reporters, but also bloggers and other online media outlets.
The popularity of social media has caused some growth in this field. An important part of media relations work involves engaging fans through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms.
The BLS reports that the average salary for a public relations specialist is $54,170. Media and communication workers in general make around $50,930 a year. Those who work for professional sports teams, leagues and organizations can earn more than $100,000.
Most media relations positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in order to acquire entry-level employment. Common majors include public relations, sport management, journalism, communication and English. Training usually covers topics like organizational activities, being able to research and report findings, and learning the format for writing news releases, speeches and articles. A portfolio that includes samples of those documents can be a helpful tool when pursuing a position. For those who want to go into sports media relations specifically, a master’s degree in sport management may be beneficial.
Many students who are pursuing a media relations job will also opt for an internship with a sports organization or media outlet while pursuing their degree. Skills relating to interpersonal relations, conflict resolution, writing, speaking and problem solving are all essential to this kind of job.