Textbook journalism? Objectivity, education and the professionalization of sports reporting

Weedon, G. ORCID: 0000-0001-7673-8587 and Wilson, B., 2020. Textbook journalism? Objectivity, education and the professionalization of sports reporting. Journalism, 21 (10), pp. 1375-1400. ISSN 1464-8849

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In this article, we present an analysis of recent handbooks, field guides and other educative texts on sports journalism. Authored mostly by current and former journalists turned university educators, these books signal the professionalization of sports journalism amid changes and challenges to news media industries. In offering guidance on best practice sports reporting, they are also situated in tension with the long-standing denigration of sports journalism as the trivial back-page filler that props up more serious, substantive content. Through a thematic analysis of the textbooks’ contents and the epistemic, economic and educative context of their collective emergence, we address the following question in what follows: How do these textbooks advise would-be sports journalists to respond to ‘serious’ social, ethical and political matters? In doing so, we detail how established categories of objectivity and ethics are the primary points of recourse through which these books advise on reporting about the many social issues in which sport is implicated. In turn, we reflect on the virtues of - and the tensions and contradictions surrounding - these advocations. By way of conclusion, we contend that professionalization represents an opportunity for collaborations between sport media scholars and current and former journalists - in their shared roles as educators - in the pursuit of ‘excellent’ sports reporting. The notion of ‘strong objectivity’ is our conceptual guide for how such collaborations might be fostered.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journalism
Creators: Weedon, G. and Wilson, B.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 1 October 2020
Volume: 21
Number: 10
ISSN: 1464-8849
Volume: 21 issue: 10, page(s): 1375-1400 Article first published online: August 1, 2017; Issue published: October 1, 2020UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 14 Aug 2017 08:35
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2021 11:33
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31410

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