studying low-prevalence, hidden, or hard-to-reach populations by using social media sites for data collection ( Bhutta, 2012 ; Genoe, Liechty, Marston, & Sutherland, 2016 ; King, O’Rourke, & DeLongis, 2014 ; Rife, Cate, Kosinski, & Stillwell, 2016 ; Schneider, Burke-Garcia, & Thomas, 2015 ). However
Chris Gibbs and Richard Haynes
This article uses the phenomenological method to explain how Twitter has changed the nature of sport media relations. The research was based on semistructured interviews with 18 Canadian and U.S. sport media professionals having an average 16 yr of experience. This exploratory study uses the lived experience of sport media professionals to identify 3 clusters that help explain how Twitter has changed the nature of sport media relations: media landscape, “mechanical” job functions, and sport media relations. The results of this research are significant because they help explain how the practices and norms related to the role of sport media relations are changing as a result of Twitter. This research presents a new argument: that Twitter has flattened the sport hierarchy and could be considered the most influential social-media platform in sport today.
Via their social-media postings, student-athletes are increasingly creating public relations issues for college athletic programs. With social media’s emergence as a popular communication tool, exploring the messages student-athletes receive from their athletic departments about social-media use is warranted. This research examined social-media policies in student-athlete handbooks from 159 NCAA Division I schools. Using thematic and textual analytic procedures, analysis revealed that policies heavily emphasize content restrictions and external monitoring and frame social media as laden with risk. The results suggest that social-media policies should be more reflexive to identify both positive and negative outcomes for student-athletes. In addition, athletic departments must assertively monitor social-media trends to ensure that policies and training stay relevant.
Jianjun Tang and Elizabeth A. Gregg
This study examines media images of sports public figures during 4 periods of modern Chinese history. Furthermore, an explanation is provided for each of the variables that have affected the media’s portrayal of sports public figures. As in most cultures and nations around the world, sports public figures are recognizable characters in modern Chinese culture. They have a significant impact on opinions regarding sports and society and have gained a pivotal role in the fabric of mainstream culture. Over the various historical periods in China, the country’s media have reported stories involving sports public figures differently. The descriptions contained in this study are reflections of the various political, economical, cultural, sports, and media climates during different time periods in China. The commercialization of sports and the rise of the media’s presence have influenced the pursuit of an all-encompassing image of Chinese sports public figures.
Jamie A. Cleland
The development of “new” media and the financial investment in football since the early 1990s have dramatically changed the football club–media relationship. A number of clubs changed ownership and organizational structure for financial gain or financial survival while the increasing demand for immediate information led to clubs’ recognizing the importance of external communication. Drawing on 47 semistructured interviews with media personnel and 827 questionnaires completed by supporters at 4 football clubs, this article assesses the organizational structure of clubs in dealing with the media and supporters and the level of dependence between clubs and the external media. The results highlight changes in the organizational structure of clubs and their strategies for external communication, as well as the contrasting relationships between football clubs and the external media. As ownership and personnel changes occur, clubs should remember the importance of the 2-way relationships they are in with supporters and the media.
Katie Lebel, Karen Danylchuk and Patti Millar
This research explored the use of social media within the sport management discipline in a North American context, specifically investigating how sport management academicians use social media as a teaching and learning tool. An online survey garnered the social media literacies of sport management faculty (N = 132). Compared with cross-discipline studies that have measured similar interests, sport management faculty appear to have a limited awareness of social media applications. Only 61% of study participants reported having incorporated social media into their course design. While a majority of faculty agreed that the use of social media in education can provide positive enhancement to both teaching and learning, in practice, participant social media teaching strategies were narrowly employed. Results suggest a potential disconnect between the digital pedagogies currently employed by sport management faculty, the expectations of students, and most importantly, the demands of the sport industry.
Jimmy Sanderson, Blair Browning and Annelie Schmittel
College athletes are active on a variety of social-media platforms. As a result, most athletic departments require them to participate in social-media education. Although this practice is becoming more prominent, little research has explored how college athletes perceive such training. This case study explored college athletes’ social-media use and their perceptions about social-media education. Semi structured interviews of 20 college athletes at a Division I university were conducted. Using social-cognitive theory as a framework, analysis revealed that while participants expressed a desire for social-media education, they indicated that most of the messages they receive about social media tend to be forgettable. Consequently, athletic departments need to take a more refexive approach to social-media education that incorporates college athletes’ feedback to optimize this instruction.
G. Clayton Stoldt and Mark Vermillion
Employing an organizational public relations (PR) roles typology, this study addressed differences in the professional use and perceptions of social media based on the primary PR roles of college athletics communicators. Data were gathered via an online survey of members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (N = 518). Results indicated that those in management roles spent significantly more time working with blogs and social media than technicians did. Managers and technicians also differed significantly in several ways regarding their perceptions of the impact of social media and their relationship with traditional mainstream media. The findings contribute to an understanding of how PR roles have evolved in the era of social media, as well as role-related dynamics specific to social media in college sport PR.
Linda J. Schoenstedt and Jackie Reau
The objective of this case study was to create and execute a proactive new-media public relations plan for the 2009 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Although the economic activity surrounding this marathon has been studied by Cobb and Olberding (2008), the 11th running of the popular marathon offered a chance to launch a social-media newsroom inside the traditional media center. Social-media tools like Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, Twitpics, and other multimedia postings have revamped news forums through their immediate transmission of news while traditional media must wait until press time. Few sporting events have actively planned to use social-media platforms to create ad campaigns, generate buzz, or track digital participation for selling, marketing, and measuring various responses to the event.
Cheryl Cooky, Faye L. Wachs, Michael Messner and Shari L. Dworkin
Using intersectionality and hegemony theory, we critically analyze mainstream print news media’s response to Don Imus’ exchange on the 2007 NCAA women’s basketball championship game. Content and textual analysis reveals the following media frames: “invisibility and silence”; “controlling images versus women’s self-definitions”; and, “outside the frame: social issues in sport and society.” The paper situates these media frames within a broader societal context wherein 1) women’s sports are silenced, trivialized and sexualized, 2) media representations of African-American women in the U. S. have historically reproduced racism and sexism, and 3) race and class relations differentially shape dominant understandings of African-American women’s participation in sport. We conclude that news media reproduced monolithic understandings of social inequality, which lacked insight into the intersecting nature of oppression for women, both in sport and in the United States.