Sporting legends and media myths on and off the field
Katrina Mandy Oakham,
RMIT University and
Lisa Waller,
Deakin University

The Wayne Carey myth is largely a media creation and the coverage of
his violence-related arrests in two countries demonstrates how journalists are complicit in a particular form of framing sporting “heroes” who perpetrate acts of violence on women as “bad boys” who have “fallen from grace”. It is not only an Australian phenomenon. The coverage of  abuse of women by American sporting heroes like Vance Johnson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Warren Moon and O.J. Simpson and British soccer legend Paul Gasgoine has followed the same narrative of sin and redemption in which the drugs or other outside factors “made him do it”. The violence against women is portrayed as an unfortunate private anomaly which is dwarfed when set against an otherwise glorious sporting life.   This paper will examine how the media frames these sporting “heroes” and their behaviour, and will discuss some of the implications for how these narratives play out on media audience’s attitudes on violence against women.

Online sports reporting of female athletes: an analysis of coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games
Dianne Jones
University of Southern Queensland

For decades the media has been accused of marginalising or ignoring women’s sports. Female athletes and their sports consistently register between 2 and 10 per cent of airtime devoted to sports news in the United States and Australia, while in the international sports press up to 86 per cent of articles are exclusively about male sports and athletes (Jorgensen, 2005). When they do get newspaper space, reports of women’s sports are often derogatory, focused excessively on their physical appearance, and rarely accompanied by photographs (Donohoe, 2003). Audiences in the millions regularly access their sports news from the Internet – especially at times of international events such as the Olympic Games – so an audit of new media performance is in order. This study used content analysis to examine the amount and nature of textual and pictorial coverage for female Olympians in 2008 on the Web sites of four national public broadcasters. The findings suggest that despite an obligation to report in a non-discriminatory manner, coverage by three of the four news media emphasises sexual difference.

The Round Table of Footy Classified; the new Camelot of sports journalism?
Katrina Mandy Oakham,
RMIT University
Peter Weiniger,
RMIT University

Footy Classified could be described as the thinking footy fan’s first choice in viewing. The Queen of this new journalistic Camelot is Caroline Wilson recognised by her peers as an excellent journalist who attempts to present viewers with both an intellectual and institutional analysis of the game. Taking his seat beside the queen is the Sir Galahad, journalist Craig Hutchinson, whose role is to take on the seemingly impossible missions and bring back the scoops. And the final two of the warrior court are ex- player Gary Lyon, The Great Apologist and another ex-player Glenn Archer, the gentle Prince of Biffo. This paper will explore what Footy Classified as a sport program may indicate about future directions in sports reporting and will argue that the program has already provided a vehicle for genuine innovations in this field.  An example of innovation is the regular item, Beat The Press, in which journalists have their roles as interrogaters reversed and they are scrutinised vigorously by players, coaches and other sports executives. Journalists often find themselves justifying aspects of their practice to these panels, as well as to each other. The journalists involved with this program also become the news themselves, with the most infamous incident surrounding sexist portrayals of Caroline Wilson on another program The Footy Show. Repercussions of this incident continue to play out in journalistic and football circles. The authors of this paper will argue that this potential new form of interrogation of practice and the implications of journalists becoming the news while simultaneously producing the news could yield rich terrain for future directions in journalism research.


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