Dear Miss Snark,
I am an unpublished author of children’s books. I also have been writing short fiction, with the hope of getting a published in a children’s magazine. The idea, of course, is to have publishing credits to make me stand out in the slush.
Now I have a new opportunity. I’m doing freelance sports reporting for a local newspaper. While this isn’t fiction, I am being published and paid (yeah for pay!).
Would an agent look at sports reporting as a writing credit (as in someone besides my mom likes my writing)? Or is journalism such a different animal than fiction that it would be thought of as a nice thing, but not a “real” credit?
I ask because of my limited time. Not that I’m going to stop what I’m doing, but I’m thinking about focus and time allotment.
Reporting isn't a writing credit but it's still a good thing to mention. For starters it tells a prospective agent you've gotten used to editing, working on deadlines and meeting a schedule. It will also make you a better writer I bet.
Some very very good writers did stints at newspapers including one of my favorite authors in the whole entire world Jennifer Weiner. She talks about journalism as a the perfect place for a writer on the "for writers" part of her website here