Advice for a motorsport journalism career

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Jason Noble, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Jason Noble

    Jason Noble

    I should begin this post by saying that most of you other than a few hardcore editorial staff members will probably know who I am. I am Jason, and I have been a part of the editorial team here at RaceDepartment since May last year.

    As of last month, I joined the junior freelance team at (and magazine), and while the work is only part time at the moment, it is paid.
    This means that I am leaving the RD team, and this is effectively my final article for the website.

    But while I am leaving, and that will be of little consequence to most people on here, I just wanted to share a little bit of my experience into carving a career in motorsport journalism, and to set myself as an example that it is possible.

    This is directed both at those who already write on here, and those who may be interested in a career in motorsports journalism but are looking for an avenue for their writing.

    I can emphatically say that had I not started here at RD writing articles in my spare time, then I would not have had a chance to freelance for Autosport.

    Journalism is an industry where you mostly have to offer yourself for free as much as you can before any paid work comes your way, and mine was no different. So do not think that by doing voluntary writing you are being fleeced in any way.

    My RD work began with a Google search for voluntary motorsport writing, and after submitting several articles to the team just as a guest, I was asked to join the editorial team as a regular contributor.

    It was here that the progress really began, as I was able to hone my style, gain regular experience, and most importantly have a forum in which to write where I would be guaranteed an audience – something which personal blogs can offer much less.

    As part of the feedback and analysis from a weeks work placement with them, and getting on Autosport’s radar, I was asked to try and get as many exclusive interviews as I could before doing a second work placement with them. In that time I interviewed Nick Yelloly, Alex Lynn, Jack Harvey, and wrote a 1,000 word feature on Formula E featuring interviews with Sam Bird and Donington Park circuit manager Christopher Tate. It was this that got me my shot at Autosport.

    So I would urge you all to go out there and make inroads with press teams and contact agents asking for interviews, always mentioning that it will be published on RD. If they know it is going to be published they are often more than happy to oblige. F1 drivers are normally difficult to get hold of outside of race weekends – even for top publications, so start with GP2, GP3, WEC drivers and see how you go.

    A significant part of my work now is writing race reports of various different race categories, and filing a 300 word report within 10 minutes of the end of a race. I would not have been able to write a publishable report in that time had I not honed my craft writing race reports on RD for over a year on F1 weekends. Ten minutes is an incredibly tight deadline to keep to, and while RD does not insist on this deadline, the sooner you can file a race report after the event, the more kudos you will get from the team, readers, and importantly prove that you can do it as a job.

    I would like to think I am proof that in my relatively short journalism career so far that it is possible to make it in this industry. But you have to pay your dues with some free work first, which is why RD is the perfect place to start – you have an existing readership, a great forum to write in, dedicated editors in Bram Hengeveld and Howard Choularton, and you can work your contributions around work/uni/college, whatever it may be.

    RaceDepartment has been very good to me, and has helped me become the journalist I am today, and there are very few other websites out there which can offer you the opportunity to make a name for yourself when you are starting out. Experience is what counts in this business, and regular experience for a website that writes on the same subject matter as Autosport is the best you can get.

    So if you are thinking of joining, stop thinking and just do it. Write a blog post on a hot topic – pay drivers, cost of running teams, opportunities for reserve drivers, write a race report, interview a driver, write a news story – send it to RD and build up a portfolio of writing.

    Regular writing for a website like RD is how you will show a potential employer in the future that you are up to the task of writing regularly, that you are willing to put the time and effort in, and importantly improve your writing the more you contribute.

    And for those who already write, keep going! If it’s a career you are serious about, you can make it – if I can do it then I am confident each of you can. Plenty of volunteer websites have not achieved half as much as RD has in building up a readership, and you are lucky to be part of an extraordinary team of contributors.

    I for one am proud to have RD on my CV, and as I move on in my career, I want to thank everyone on the team here – particularly Bram and Howard, and wish all of you the best for the future.

    Check out RD's current vacant writing positions here

    Note from editor: Jason joins our list of alumni, which now includes Autosport journalists, BBC sports hosts, TV commentators, PR managers and Eurosport presenters. Thank you for your work, Jason, good luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2014
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  2. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
    Founder Staff Premium

    It was great having you on board of the team for the last year and half. You are one talented bloke and I am pretty sure it won't take long before we'll see daily posts on Autosport of yet another Noble.

    All the best buddy and we'll keep in touch :thumbsup:
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  3. Sk3ptik0n


    I thought the first requirement was to be able to drift. Or is that just for /DRIVE?

    Congratulations. Incidentally, I also did something similar way back over 20 years ago. I wanted to work on this new thing called "World Wide Web but I had no experience. I went to the first web agency in the Bay Area and I told them I would work for free for 6 months and that I would bring my own computer.
    Got the job, after 6 months I found a better one, 3 years later I was making $140K a year (+ bonuses) in the middle of the DOTCOM boom.

    Would I do it again? Maybe not in that business, (Certainly not today) but yes. I would do it again if I were that passionate about something.
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  4. Tom

    Staff Emeritus Premium

    All the best man, great to see yet another career around motorsport being ignited by RD. :)

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  5. Omer Said

    Omer Said
    Weresloth Staff

    Big congrats Jason, and also huge thanks for sharing your story of getting into Autosport. Hard work pays off most of the time.

    All the best!