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Matthew Zimmerman

David Kraft has been with ESPN’s online operation since 1996, when it was known as ESPNetSportsZone. That year, Kraft helped design ESPN’s online coverage of the bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. For 4 years he has headed the news operation at and since 2009 has also managed the copy desk. Prior to joining ESPN, Kraft spent 6 years as the managing editor of Volleyball magazine, immediately preceded by 3 years as a newspaper reporter at the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune.

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Lauren Burch, Matthew Zimmerman, and Beth Fielding Lloyd

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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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Galen E. Clavio and Matthew H. Zimmerman

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Jimmy Sanderson, Matthew Zimmerman, Sarah Stokowski, and Alison Fridley

This research explored maladaptive parasocial interaction (PSI) expressed toward Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey after he missed a potential game-winning field goal in the 2019 NFL (National Football League) playoffs. Using a sample of 512 tweets posted during the week after the game, qualitative analysis revealed that maladaptive PSI manifested in the following ways: criticism, threats, anger, and support. The results help better illuminate the nature of virtual abuse and maltreatment of athletes that is increasing in online spaces. Results also suggest that maladaptive PSI expressed online creates friction among fans who have to reconcile defeat with problematic behavior from other group members. Implications for sport organizations are discussed, including the need to support and protect athletes against virtual abuse and maltreatment.

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Dae Hee Kwak, Yu Kyoum Kim, and Matthew H. Zimmerman

Despite the growing interest in social media and user-generated content, both academics and practitioners are struggling to understand the value and consequences of social media (e.g., blogs). This study employed a 2 (media source: mainstream/ social media) × 2 (message valence: positive/negative) × 2 (team identification: high/low) between-subjects design on source credibility and attitude toward an article. Positive and negative messages about the university’s varsity men’s basketball team were presented in either the mainstream media (sport magazine) or a user-generated format (blog). The results revealed that message valence had a significant main impact on triggering biased source evaluation and attitude toward the message. In turn, media source had a significant main effect on source expertise, but no main effects were found for trustworthiness and attitude. Team identification moderated the effect of media source on cognitive processing, suggesting that highly identified fans evaluated mainstream content more favorably, whereas less identified fans preferred user-generated content.

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Evan L. Frederick, Galen E. Clavio, Lauren M. Burch, and Matthew H. Zimmerman

For this case study, an Internet-based survey was posted on a popular mixed-martial- arts (MMA) blog to ascertain its users’ demographics and usage trends. Data analysis revealed that users were predominantly White men between the ages of 23 and 39, with some college education and an annual income of $40,000–59,999. An exploratory factor analysis revealed 6 dimensions of gratification: evaluation, community, information gathering, knowledge demonstration, argumentation, and diversion. The most salient motivation statements were related to the speed of information access, the depth of information and coverage, and the availability of information not typically found through traditional media outlets. Most users spent 1–5 hr/wk watching MMA programming and 1–10 hr/wk on MMA blogs, making 1–20 comments per week. Findings indicated that users used this particular blog for both interactive and information-gathering purposes.