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SPORTS JOURNALISM IN AUSTRIA: PROFESSIONAL SITUATION OF FEMALE AND MALE SPORT JOURNALISTS

 

 

 

Country: Austria

Organisation responsible: Dep. of Sport & Exercise Science (University of Salzburg),100% Sport (Sport working group on media representation)

Main topic addressed: Media and communication – leadership, gender mainstreaming in policy

Type of resource/practice: Research and study


Discipline: Multi-sport

Target group(s): Sport journalists and sport journalists in training

Timing: Ongoing

Language: German / Summary in English

Brief description of the practice: Starting from the question of why sports journalism is a male-dominated field, we conducted an online survey in order to assess the work situation of sports journalists in Austria (Quantitative approach 2016-2018). Subsequently, qualitative studies have been carried out with selected sports journalists to analyse work routines and power hierarchies (Qualitative approach 2017-2019).

Content and objectives: The aim of the project was to collect data on the following aspects:
Quantitative approach: Socio-demographic status (age, gender, employment, education, work, association and media affiliation). Sports journalistic professional content (tasks for sports journalism, reporting). Professional self-concept (self-evaluation & self-perceptions). Quality in journalism (criteria, research methods, influencing factors). Future (professional perspective of women's sport).
Qualitative approach: Professional daily routine in Austrian sport journalism via vertical level (routine, sport journalistic practices, gender specific field of action, journalistic mode of operation, working atmosphere). Placements and opinions of the stakeholders (predominant gender problem in sport journalism). Strengths and weaknesses in the Austrian sport newsrooms (e.g. efficient and / or hierarchical structures). Contrast of current gender specific relations of sport journalists (Thematic selection, leadership, promotion perspectives).

Steps/activities of the practice: The project consists of two operational phases:

  • Quantitative approach 2016-2018: Questioning (online): 34 closed questions / two open questions. Sample: 106 sports journalists: 80 journalists (75.5%) [30.76% of the total sample (N)] 26 female journalists (24.5%) [50.00% of the total sample (N)]. Survey period: July-September 2017.
  • Qualitative approach 2017-2019: Ethnography (mixed method): In-depth interviews 6x (three women & three men). Diaries 2x (one woman & one man). Participant observations in Austrian sport newsrooms (Grounded theory). Sample three female Austrian sport journalists & three male Austrian sport journalists. Survey period: June – September 2018.

Resources required: This project is part of the main research topic ‘sport journalism & sport communication’ of the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Salzburg. Experts from 100% Sport (Sport working group on media representation) were involved in the design of the questionnaires. The data collection took place in the context of two master theses. Afterwards, experts from University analysed and interpreted the collected data.

Achievements and outcomes: Results (selection) / Quantitative approach

  • Sports journalism is (remains) a male-dominated professional field. Reasons (Male):
    46% disinterest / 19% low advancement opportunities / 10% low understanding of sports
    Reasons (Female): 10% disinterest / 23% low advancement opportunities / 16% low understanding of sports.
  • In parallel
    “Family life and unsociable hours disrupt careers”.
  • Women are much better educated than men.
  • Professional self-concept
    Professional role
    W to inform / to investigate sport topics / to show new trends […]
    M to inform / to entertain / to investigate sport topics.
  • Advancement opportunities
    77% of women mean that men have slightly better or significantly better advancement opportunities in the field of sports journalism. 54% of men also take advantage of this.

Results (selection) / Qualitative approach

  • Male sport journalists are better at networking
  • Women become more stressed while in the professional daily routine.
  • The men have habitual areas that are more distinctive (more on friendly terms with colleagues). In contrast, the women are extremely professional in their associations.

Challenges and limitations: A first challenge was to identify the number of active sports journalists. Therefore, we have collected data from Sports Media Austria and other journalistic organisations. In addition, the direct contact with different media was helpful for the collection of the data.
A further challenge was the selection of suitable female and male interview partners. We therefore had to make compromises and included not only sports journalists but also media producers in the sample.

Follow-up ideas and future plans: The following topics will be dealt with in the future: Contrasting juxtaposition of female and male sport journalists. Face-off with the remaining study results. Gender specific observation (contact, professional/semi-professional). Individual opinions & disagreement of the two genders. Professional identity. Communication technologies and sports journalism. Sports journalism as market.

Further information: 

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Minas Dimitriou minas.dimitriou@sbg.ac.at


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