Sports Journalism and Journalism Values

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Concerned with similar themes, but with a more textual orientation, Whannel’s study of sport and television (1992) remains one of the few studies that embraces aspects of broadcast sports journalism.

This research highlighted the tension between journalistic modes of address and a more entertainment driven focus in television sport.

He notes that while at first glance sport on television appears to rely heavily on aspects of the reportage journalistic traditions, in reality this is a more complex interrelationship.

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He suggests that: ‘in the structure of its programmes, its modes of representation and modes of addressing its audiences, in its place in relation to scheduling and in the type of audiences it attempts to win and hold, it is also shaped by the conventions of entertainment’ (Whannel, 1992: 92).

Significantly, he also argues that the traditional concerns of television journalism regarding neutrality and impartiality are extended to broadcast sports journalism.

It is not clear whether domestic sports coverage is primarily being discussed here; certainly, within television coverage of international sports events, it could be argued that contemporary broadcast sports journalism Whannel’s research is based on the situation in the 1980s appears to increasingly pay scant regard to issues of impartiality and neutrality.

What this highlights is the extent that broadcast sports reporters/journalists appears exempt from the normal codes of professional practice.

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On the more commercially driven broadcast outlets, such as Sky Sports television or Talk Sport radio, this type of partial journalism appears increasingly to be accepted as standard practice among sports reporting.

Rudin and Ibbotson (2002: 72) seen to suggest that impartiality is not part of the lexicon of sports journalism when they argue: In many ways, sports reporting of actual events are very similar to hard news as regards attention to detail, accuracy and meeting deadlines.

The main difference is that some form of comment or opinion is allowed and may involve partisanship, interviews with players, coaches and managers, comparisons with earlier encounters, fans reactions.

It is worth noting that sports stories can also include personal profiles, investigative features, humorous pieces and commentary.

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