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Edward M. Kian

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Edward M. Kian

In 2013–14, Jason Collins and Michael Sam became the first 2 athletes from the 4 most popular professional leagues in the United States to publicly come out as gay during their playing careers. U.S. men’s pro team sports have historically been arenas where hegemonic masculinity flourishes and open homosexuality is nearly nonexistent. However, these athletes came out during a period when sexual minorities had won numerous civil rights and were gaining acceptance by a majority of Americans, particularly those who self-identify as politically liberal. A textual analysis examined framing of Collins’s and Sam’s coming out in articles published on the liberal political Web site MSNBC.com. Focus was placed on how these athletes, homosexuality, and masculinity were framed in the corresponding message-board comments posted in response to these articles. Five primary themes emerged from the data, showing that acceptable forms of masculinities and homosexuality in sport remain contested terrains, even on liberal message boards.

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Edward M. Kian and Marie Hardin

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.

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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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Edward M. Kian and Matthew H. Zimmerman

In this phenomenology, interviews were conducted with former newspaper reporters now working for prominent Internet sports sites. Krumboltz’s (2008) Planned Happenstance Learning Theory on career development was used as a guiding framework. Data were transcribed and coded by two researchers. Most of the journalists decided to be newspaper sports writers early in life and began garnering professional experiences in their teens or in college. None planned to work for Internet outlets. However, all foresaw the demise of newspapers and landed with Internet outlets through media connections initially formed through newspapers. All but one expressed high satisfaction in their current jobs, citing large travel budgets, freedom to choose writing assignments, national platforms, and no hard time deadlines for submitting stories. These reporters find the future of sports journalism unpredictable, but believe they will be ready. Lehman-Wilizig and Cohen-Avigdor’s media life-cycle model (2004) was used to understand results in a broader context.

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Edward M. Kian, John Vincent, and Michael Mondello

This study examined print-media portrayals of women’s and men’s basketball teams, players, and coaches during the 2006 NCAA Division I tournaments. Drawing principally from Gramsci’s hegemony theory and Connell’s theory of gender power relations, we analyzed article narratives published over a 26-day period during spring 2006 in four major media outlets: newspapers, The New York Times and USA Today, and online sport publications, ESPN Internet and CBS SportsLine. A total of 508 articles were coded and analyzed for dominant themes. Six primary themes emerged from the data. Although the data revealed shifts in media representations of gender relations, overall these themes mostly supported Connell’s theory about the gender order.

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Edward M. Kian, Janet S. Fink, and Marie Hardin

This study examined content differences in the framing of men’s and women’s tennis coverage based on the sex of sports writers. Articles on the 2007 U.S. Open in six popular Internet sites and newspapers were examined. Results showed both female and male writers wrote a higher percentage of articles exclusively on men’s tennis than on women’s tennis. Female journalists accounted for more overall newspapers articles than male reporters, whereas online articles were mostly written by male authors. Framing results showed female journalists largely reinforced hegemonic masculinity through the use of sexist and stereotypical descriptors that de-valued the athleticism and accomplishment of female athletes. In contrast, male journalists were more likely to challenge the traditional gendering of sport media content by praising the athleticism of female athletes. The contrasts suggest the potential presence of subtle shifts in traditional, masculine framing of sports by male reporters, who dominate the ranks of sportswriters.