In 2006, Hines Ward, a Korean-American athlete, was at the center of the media spotlights and became a national celebrity in South Korea after he was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XL. This paper examines the role of local journalists as cultural intermediaries and the repercussions of the mass-mediated identity of Hines Ward created and reproduced in the media. In light of the globalization of sport, this case study increases our understanding of how the globalization of sport has influenced and transformed the ways in which national identity is defined and conceptualized and how identities of cross-national athletes are crafted, disseminated, and marketed by local cultural intermediaries, particularly journalists.
Jun is with the Dept. of Communication and Media Studies, Dan-Kook University, Yong-In, Republic of Korea. Lee is with the Dept. of Media Communication, Sungshin Women’s University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.