Is That Niche Enough For You?

Since there is only a small number of women in sports journalism I think my topic makes itself niche without even trying, but in this post will reiterate the niche-ness!

Another semester and surprise, surprise, another study on media, I probably should expect it being a coms and media student. For this semester I am looking at media through the lens of women in sports journalism, focusing on how the audience (which includes the people watching, the sportspeople and their colleagues) responds. To look slightly further into it I will also see if the responses compares to that of what a male journalist would get.

Sports is such a broad field, typing sports news into google brings up such a large response. It is incredible how many of those articles that appear are written by women. Quickly, it’s visible that only a shallow number are written by women. In an article by Deakin University they suggest, “a measly 10% of sports reporters are women.” (Toffoletti) It makes the research pretty niche without me even scaling down the question of women in sports journalism. But in this particular study, I’ll look at Formula 1, Cricket and Rugby League.

The primary research will involve me immersing myself in the media ecology of women in sports journalism. Not only will it be the research of the public, but how sportspersons’ also react to female interviewers.

It is crucial for this research as, especially in Australia, sports culture is brought up in our everyday conversation. We are popular for the ‘mateship’ that sports bring, and we are bloody’ good at it, Australia isn’t shy of medals, and won’t back down from a challenge. So this idea that women aren’t as involved in sports is ridiculous. Information from the 2021 global sports survey suggests that 50% of women in the UK, Germany and US view sport monthly, whilst in Australasian countries it is up to 70%. (2021 Global Sports Survey).

But the media algorithms would suggest otherwise, as it is only a scarce 10% of media coverage that is women’s sports and through different studies it is seemingly more popular to place a female journalist at the ground of a female sporting match. (Hardin. M, Shain. S 2006)

Begging the question of who is in charge of these organisations that run the advertisements; big companies that’s who. Multiple questions come from that, is it men running the show, is it women who are controlled by the stats, or by men higher up? Why is it such a gender-orientated environment? All questions draw-back to the study that I will be conducting. Ethnographic research on women in sports media. These are all questions coming out of the niche.

Did any of this information or suggestive comments in this post offend your beliefs? Let me know in the comments below because I would love to chat about your theories on women in sports media. Of course, I can’t include those conversations in my research because it is purely observation-based, but I would still love to chat!

Below is a little poddy for your listening, goes great with this post!

Podcast

Toffoletti, K. Sports journalism: one simple way to increase coverage of women’s sport | this.. [online] this.deakin.edu.au. Available at: https://this.deakin.edu.au/career/sports-journalism-increase-coverage-womens-sport#:~:text=Why%20is%20there%20such%20a,written%20or%20broadcast%20by%20men.

Hardin, M & Shain, S 2006, ‘“Feeling Much Smaller than You Know You Are”: The Fragmented Professional Identity of Female Sports Journalists’, Critical studies in media communication, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 322–338.

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