Women are breaking into sports broadcasting in greater numbers but they often find gender stereotypes serving as a roadblock to their career advancement. U.S. media executives contend that audiences don’t accept women as sports analysts, and that women should stick to commenting on gender-appropriate (feminine) sports. This experimental study tests whether these assertions are true. In a 2 (masculine vs. feminine sport) x 2 (male vs. female sports analyst) factorial design, the effects of type of sport analyzed and analyst gender were explored on viewer attitudes of competency, agreement with, and likability of the analyst. In contrast to past studies in which male sports journalists were rated as more credible than their female counterparts, viewers in this study rated the female analyst as most competent. They also rated analysts covering the feminine sport (volleyball), regardless of gender, as more competent and agreed with them more compared with those covering the masculine sport (American football). For likeability, however, an interesting interaction occurred. Sportscasters analyzing gender-appropriate sports (women commenting on volleyball and men commenting on football) were most liked. The results indicate that while likability of analysts varies by type of sport, female sportscasters may be breaking out of their stereotypical roles, allowing them to offer opinions, especially when commenting on a feminine sport.
|Keywords:||Sports, Broadcast Journalism, Gender Stereotypes, Media Credibility|
Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA
Assistant Professor of Journalism and Speech, Department of Languages and Literature, University of West Alabama, Livingston, USA
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