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Verena Burk, Christoph G. Grimmer and Tim Pawlowski

Organizations around the globe have numerous avenues to share information with their target groups and communicate directly without any intermediaries such as journalists. Particularly, sports organizations like professional sports teams make frequent use of e-mail newsletters, (online) club TV channels, stadium magazines, and Internet platforms. In addition, they frequently share information using social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Surprisingly, however, very little is known about the factors influencing consumers’ use of these different communication channels. This paper is the first to analyze simultaneously the factors associated with consumers’ use of different public relations (PR) media by using representative data from club members of one of the biggest professional soccer clubs in Germany and employing a multivariate ordered probit model. Results suggest that decisions on the use of different PR media are closely related, though sociodemographic and membership characteristics have a media-specific impact on the frequency of use.

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Christoph G. Grimmer and Edward M. Kian

This article examines German print sport journalists’ perceptions, experiences, and relationships with Bundesliga clubs’ public relations (PR) staffers and each club’s designated press spokesperson, as well the impact of a competitive, multitier 21st-century media environment on their jobs. All Bundesliga clubs are now disseminating more multimedia content on their own through official Web sites and social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, the German newspaper industry is in a state of transformation and decreased prominence among mediums in German sport journalism. A survey of print journalists who cover Bundesliga clubs showed that these changes have affected the historic symbiotic relationship between the sporting press and Bundesliga clubs. Power and media autonomy have increased for Bundesliga clubs and their designated press spokespersons, while print reporters are more dependent on the clubs’ PR staffers to provide access. The surveyed journalists recognize the increasing power of television in German sport journalism, but nearly half do not consider this as negative for their jobs. These print sport journalists are called on to find new ways and types of media content to begin restoring the needed balance in a symbiotic relationship between independent press and PR, while also distinguishing their work from televised media content.

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Thomas Horky, Marianna Baranovskaa, Christoph G. Grimmer, Honorata Jakubowska and Barbara Stelzner

Football’s (soccer’s) EURO 2016 in France marked a high point for sport journalism and broadcasting. Due to the implementation of a uniform multilateral image feed by the European Football Association (UEFA), differences in the verbal live commentary became significant. This study investigated commentary of the live television broadcasts of 4 matches in a specific country. Using social identity and self-categorization, a mixed-methods analysis was employed to quantitatively analyze the commentary and qualitatively assess content for notions of nationalism, patriotism, or globalization. Instead of notions of ideological nationalism, coverage emphasized sporting action and Europeanization of the event. Excluding forms of “banal nationalism” like introducing the teams and playing national anthems, live commentary presented fair or positive patriotism, together with remarks of transnational friendship and comradeship of the players. Based on the increasing frequency of sport organizations using similar image feeds in the future, a decreasing relevance for live commentary by national broadcasters is discussed.