PtG Article 08.09.2005

Nine countries take part in sports press survey

At the conference in November, Play the Game will present the results of the most wide-ranging survey of sports coverage ever undertaken. Academics and journalists from nine different countries have been analysing national and regional newspapers to contribute data to the survey.

The countries in the survey represent three different continents and many sports cultures:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The survey aims to provide a cross-national perspective on how journalists approach coverage of sport and sport events by looking at parameters such as the type of sport covered, gender of both athletes and journalists as well as geographical origin of the person or team covered.

The survey also looks at the working routines of journalists. Do they mainly cover events or do they undertake independent research in the area of sport? Does coverage have a problem-oriented focus or is it mainly neutral reporting of events? And how many sources do journalists rely on in an article?

The final analysis of all data is undertaken by Monday Morning, a Danish business weekly and think tank on news.

Monday Morning was also behind the survey of Scandinavian sports journalism that was presented at Play the Game 2002. That survey showed that Scandinavian newspapers' sport coverage is uncritical and one-sided, that organisations and financial interests face little criticism and that journalists are ignoring the crisis of elite sports.

Similar tendencies are reported in a new study of sports journalism in the US. The study is undertaken by the Project on Excellence in Journalism and concludes that the sports sections of America’s newspapers are a passive and reactive space dominated by game previews and recaps with little room for enterprise reportage.

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The 2002 Scandinavian survey of sports journalism

The study of sports journalism in the US