Abstract

Abstract:

The sports pages have historically been economic drivers for newspapers, and editors have maintained cozy relationships with the entities they cover, both of which have led to a laissez-faire attitude about the journalism aspect of sports journalism. But with sports and social issues intersecting in a way unseen, with a few exceptions, since the 1960s, sports reporters can no longer ignore these stories. The questions then become, how are they covering these stories, and why do the story forms vary? This study answers those questions using a combination of interviews with 20 journalists and aspects of Bourdieu’s field theory. The results provide three main takeaways: (1) Journalists take a position in the field depending on which stories they cover and which of the four main story types they use to cover sociopolitical issues related to sports: humanity stories, investigative deep dives, off-the-field issues, and hot takes. (2) Economics play a factor in the decision whether to cover these issues. (3) Not all sports reporters have the skills to cover these issues or employ certain story types. Findings are placed in the context of field theory concepts.

pdf