Are the times changing enough? Print media trends across four decades
AbstractMedia analysis is an established area of sport sociology which has been documented by researchers systematically since the 1980s. Some trends have explored the differences between male and female athletes in the print media with significant evidence demonstrating that female athletes do not gain proportional representation and that many strategies employed by journalists traditionally seek to trivialise, sexualise and emphasise the female identity as ‘other’ rather than as athlete. This longitudinal study uniquely documents an analysis of a two week period in the British print media across four decades 1984-2014. This study, grounded in liberal feminism, presents both quantitative and qualitative data and the main quantitative results demonstrate that coverage for female athletes has decreased from 13% to 6.2%. Qualitative themes presented include: relationships, appearance, performance and nationality, the latter emerging as a new theme from the 2014 data set. The results demonstrate that there is little change in amount of representation afforded to female athletes but that there are reporting changes with a greater emphasis on performance and less reliance on appearance. The paper concludes with the position that although sports reporting, in general is on the increase, women athletes are being given less but potentially better coverage.
CitationBiscomb, K., Matheson, H. (2017) 'Are the times changing enough? Print media trends across four decades', International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 54 (3) pp. 259-281
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
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