Framing of Sport Coverage Based on the Sex of Sports Writers: Female Journalists Counter the Traditional Gendering of Media Coverage

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Edward M. Kian University of Central Florida

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Marie Hardin Pennsylvania State University

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This study examined effects of the sex of sports writers on the framing of athletes in print-media coverage of intercollegiate men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The number of articles by female and male authors and the frames used were analyzed. Descriptors of players, coaches, and both tournaments in articles from CBS SportsLine, ESPN Internet, The New York Times, and USA Today were coded with the authors’ names initially hidden. Results showed that female journalists were more apt to cover women’s basketball, and men predominantly wrote about men’s basketball. The sex of writers also influenced the ways female and male athletes were presented. Male writers were more likely to reinforce gender stereotypes by praising the athleticism of male athletes. In contrast, female writers more often framed female athletes for their athletic prowess. The results suggest that female sports writers can make some difference in framing, but institutional structures minimize their impact.

Kian is with the College of Education, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-1250. Hardin is with the Dept. of Journalism, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.

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