Play the game: a new strategy for sports journalism

Por: Jens Sejer Andersen e Schultz Jorgensen Soren.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Over the past 30 years, world sport has undergone a revolution. The possibility of broadcasting international competitions to a global audience has been the motor of a fundamental change of sport and its role in society. In economy, politics, culture and social life sport has become a much more powerful actor, a fact that is partly responded to by the growing political interest in aligning to or controlling sport.
The sports media, however, has apparently not been able to keep up with all aspects of this rushy development. Although it is often assumed that a certain shift of attitude has taken place in the sports media after evident doping and corruption scandals in world sport in recent years, sports journalism is also regarded as a special genre that does not necessary include the function as the controlling 4th estate.
In order to quantify the actual state of sports journalism, the world media conference "Play the game 2002" asked The House of Monday Morning to carry out a survey of sports journalism in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The survey is based on an analysis of 3,196 articles from 9 leading daily newspapers: The Danish papers Berlingske Tidende, B.T., Ekstra Bladet, Jyllands-Posten and Politiken, the Swedish papers Dagens Nyheter and Expressen, and the Norwegian papers Aftenposten and VG.
In the analysis a method of spot tests has been employed. The Monday issue of each paper has been
read in a given week, the Tuesday issue a fortnight later, and so forth. In all, 225 newspapers from the period of 8th April 2001 to 27th August 2002 have been surveyed. In each paper, every single article contained in the sports pages has been analysed and assigned values according to these criteria: Date, medium, type of sport, theme of article (doping, results, finances, etc.), type of article (news, background, commentary, etc.), problem-orientation, national orientation, gender, origin, and sources.
When the survey’s overall finding: That almost no journalism deals with sport’s social and political role or sport seen from the reader’s perspective - is held up against the decreasing number of readers to sports pages, it seems obvious to ask if a new sport media strategy can be inspired by this gap. Journalistic works presented at the world conference "Play the game" underlines the journalistic potential in directing the media focus away from the sports field itself.


[1]. "Industry or Indepence? Release of Survey of the Scandinavian Sports Press"/



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