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Sports reporters depend on access to events and sources as much or more than any other news professional. Over the past few years, some sports organizations have attempted to restrict such access, as well as what reporters can publish via social media. In the digital era, access and publishing autonomy, as institutionalized concepts, are evolving rapidly. Hypotheses tying access and work practices to reporters’ perceptions of the legitimacy they experience are developed and tested via a structural equation model, using responses to a survey of journalists in American intercollegiate athletics and observed dimensions of access and autonomy to measure a latent variable of legitimacy. The model suggests that reporters have mixed views about whether they possess the legitimacy they need to do their jobs.
The author is with the Dept. of Journalism, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Address author correspondence to email@example.com