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Elizabeth A. Baiocchi-Wagner and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz

Attempts at investigating female sports reporters’ credibility and persuasiveness from the audience’s perspective are limited and outdated. This study, grounded in social identity theory, fills the gap in media literature. A quasi-experiment tested respondents’ perceptions of male and female sports reporters’ credibility and persuasiveness as a function of salient gender identity and reporter and athlete sex. Respondents’ sports fandom, frequency of sports-media usage, and general perceptions of news-media credibility also were examined. Results of a MANOVA indicated no significant differences in respondents’ perceptions of a male and female reporter, even when controlling for respondent gender; however, sports fandom and general perceptions of news-media credibility did have a significant impact on perceptions.

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Erin Whiteside

Numerous educational institutions and professional sports teams still use Native American mascots, despite strong opposition ranging from Native American groups to the American Psychological Association. Fans, community members, and teams defend the mascots by asserting that they honor Native American peoples. Sports journalists occupy a unique location in the debate, as they regularly cover teams with such mascots and commonly refer to them in stories. In light of this ongoing debate and pressure to change reporting practices, this research used a survey to examine sports reporters’ experiences and attitudes toward Native American mascots and their beliefs about the role they themselves should take in the public debate. Results show an overall lack of support for Native American mascots, with key differences based on participant race, job title, and belief in the value that sports bring to society. Furthermore, sports journalists appear to support taking a public stand on the issue but resist the idea of eliminating mascot references from stories. The author discusses the implications of these findings in light of the growing movement to ban these mascots, as well as the evolving role that sports journalists embody at the intersection of sports and social issues.

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Marie Hardin, Bu Zhong, and Erin Whiteside

U.S. sports operations have been described as newsroom “toy departments,” at least partly because of their deviation from journalistic norms. Recently, however, more attention has focused on issues of ethics and professionalism; the failure of sports journalists to adequately cover steroid use in Major League Baseball has also directed critical attention to their roles and motives. This study, through a telephone survey of journalists in U.S. newsrooms, examines sports reporters’ practices, beliefs, and attitudes in regard to ethics and professionalism and how their ethics and practice relate. Results indicate that reporters’ attitudes toward issues such as voting in polls, taking free tickets, gambling, and becoming friends with sources are related to their views of public-service or investigative journalism. In addition, friendships with sources are linked to values stereotypically associated with sports as a toy-department occupation. These results suggest that adherence to ethical standards is linked to an outlook that embraces sports coverage as public service.

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Annelore Deprez, Peter Mechant, and Tim Hoebeke

Literature states that incorporating social media as a journalistic tool in news reporting generates opportunities for journalists to not only dialogue with the audience but also to publish, to seek information, and to profile themselves or their organizations. This study broadens the empirical data on the journalistic use of social media, more specifically Twitter, by sports journalists in Flanders. A multimethod research approach was used to examine the content of tweets, the followings, and the profiles of the sports journalists. Results show that almost half of the sports journalists have a Twitter account, just over a third of them actively post tweets, and Twitter serves predominantly as an information source to learn more about athletes and their teams. Journalists also publish and communicate on Twitter and to a lesser extent use Twitter to interact with their audience. The study also reveals that Twitter is rarely used as a profiling tool for self-presentation.

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Patrick C. Gentile, Nicholas R. Buzzelli, Sean R. Sadri, and Nathan A. Towery

sports reporters needed to undertake in order to generate daily content during a period in which live events were nonexistent. In addition, this pandemic has caused disruption to the core of a sportswriter’s job—access to players and relationship building. Since in-person access has been severely limited

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Mary Lou Sheffer and Brad Schultz

This was an extension of research by the same authors (2010) that investigated sports reporters’ perception of their use of Twitter as part of their professional journalistic duties. Using content-analysis methodology (N = 1,008), the authors investigated how sports reporters actually used Twitter. Analysis showed a discrepancy between journalist responses and measured content. Although journalists said they were using Twitter for breaking news and promotion, the dominant result of the content analysis was commentary and opinion. There were also differences related to print and smaller media outlets. The implications of such differences are discussed, including a possible paradigmatic shift in journalists’ approaches.

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Ali A. Dashti, Richard Haynes, and Husain A. Murad

The new technologies of broadcasting, sports coverage, sports casters, and sports analysis, especially in Europe, have attracted many local sports players and fans to enjoy and imitate famed European players. The globalization of football (soccer) has affected sports culture in Kuwait. In-depth interviews with 17 interviewees including sports academics, experts, practitioners, coaches, sports players, fans, and sports reporters revealed that the English Premier League not only entertained the fans in Kuwait but also affected their popular culture behavior and local football league performance and attendance. The English Premier League also affected fandom lifestyle and expenditure through expensive sports subscriptions or even traveling to Europe to attend football matches.

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Inga Oelrichs

Information sourcing in sports journalism changes with the process of news curation on the internet. In particular, social media is an important source for sports reporters, as athletes and organizations post content on a regular basis. Although how sports journalists use social media in their daily work routines has already been investigated, there is little knowledge on how social media is used as a source in sports reporting. However, with regard to a possible copy-and-paste trend and an impeding loss of relevance of journalistic content, results pertaining to the use of social media as a source would be helpful to evaluate journalistic output. By conducting a quantitative content analysis of 3,150 online articles of three German sports news providers, this author investigated the number and patterns of social media sources in journalistic articles. The results reveal, inter alia, that social media is crucial for human interest stories on athletes.

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Danielle S. Coombs and Anne Osborne

England’s Barclays Premier League is one of the most successful and widereaching sporting organizations in the world, attracting the best football players and managers from around the world as well as a global audience. Since its formation in 1992, the Premier League has focused on commercial success for both the League and its constituent clubs. This emphasis has brought tremendous change to English football as a whole. This case study analysis seeks to understand the perceptions and experiences of sports reporters tasked with covering these Premier League sides. These football journalists describe limited access brought on by the clubs’ decisions to emphasize global brands and manage their own branded content through club-run websites and material. Respondents also perceive this limited access is exacerbated by increased multiculturalism and a growing culture of suspicion that widens the gulfs between teams and the reporters who cover them.

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David Welch Suggs Jr.

Sports reporters depend on access to events and sources as much or more than any other news professional. Over the past few years, some sports organizations have attempted to restrict such access, as well as what reporters can publish via social media. In the digital era, access and publishing autonomy, as institutionalized concepts, are evolving rapidly. Hypotheses tying access and work practices to reporters’ perceptions of the legitimacy they experience are developed and tested via a structural equation model, using responses to a survey of journalists in American intercollegiate athletics and observed dimensions of access and autonomy to measure a latent variable of legitimacy. The model suggests that reporters have mixed views about whether they possess the legitimacy they need to do their jobs.