Investigating Interscholastic Equity on the Sports Page: A Content Analysis of High School Athletics Newspaper Articles

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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While research has documented the mass media’s biased coverage of sportswomen in most levels of athletic participation, no study has yet determined if under-representation and trivialization of females occur at the interscholastic level. This content analysis, in investigating the amount and type of newspaper coverage given to female and male high school athletics, sought to fill this void. Over a 1-year timeframe, 602 issues were randomly selected from 43 daily newspapers. This sample produced 1792 articles that fit the study’s codebook. The articles revealed that female athletics, even when compared to three independent standards (gender breakdowns of school enrollment, participation rates, and number of sports offered), was significantly under-represented in both number of articles and total column inches. Male athletics not only received significantly more written coverage, but its articles were also more likely to be better positioned and have photographic accompaniment than those about female athletics.

The author is with the Sport Management, Recreation, and Tourism Division, School of HMSLS, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.

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