Date of Graduation
Reed College of Media
Reed College of Media
Stephen J Urbanski
Over the last few decades, the fields of sports media and mainstream news media have grown and evolved proportionally to one another, occupying different areas of the same field but having fundamentally different priorities and serving fundamentally different audiences. In recent years, however, a number of high-profile events have caused sports media and news media to blur together, creating an overlap that has not often been analyzed. This study is an examination of how mainstream news media covers stories traditionally covered by sports media, which sports stories mainstream media covers, and the differences between how sports media and mainstream news media cover the same stories. This study was performed by comprehensively researching the sports stories covered throughout the year 2016 by three mainstream news outlets -- the New York Times, CNN and NBC News -- and comparing them to the work done by ESPN and CBS Sports in the same year.;Over the course of the year studied, mainstream news outlets dedicated the most amount of time covering football and basketball, as well as Olympic sports, owing to the fact that the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro took place in 2016. In addition, an examination of the content of these outlets' coverage of sports during the year showed fundamental differences in how sports and news media approach the same stories. Mainstream news media coverage of sports stories tends to include more context for events and athletes, while sports outlets tend to assume that their audience already knows these things as a given. At the same time, sports outlets are more inclined towards framing stories on crime or social issues through the lens of how the event in question affects the competitive side of sports. Most of the differences stem from mainstream news media's need to reach an audience that might not actively follow sports, and its desire to relate sports events back to issues it already covers.
Statman, David, "When Sports Mattered: An Examination of Sports in Mainstream Media" (2018). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6717.