A Level Playing Field? Audience Perceptions of Male and Female Sports Analysts

By Jennifer D. Greer and Amy H. Jones.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 8, pp.67-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 812.944KB).

Dr. Jennifer D. Greer

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA

Jennifer Greer is chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Alabama. Before joining Alabama’s faculty in 2007, Greer was an associate professor of journalism and social psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She also has worked as a newspaper reporter for The Kansas City Star and other publications and was the managing editor of online edition of The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun. Greer researches media effects, gender, and emerging media and is a member of the editorial boards of Mass Communication & Society, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator and Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs.

Amy H. Jones

Assistant Professor of Journalism and Speech, Department of Languages and Literature, University of West Alabama, Livingston, USA

Amy Head Jones received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of New Orleans (UNO) in 2004. During this time, Jones gained experience in the media and sport industries while working in public relations for the New Orleans Superdome and New Orleans Arena. This experience led her to pursue additional graduate education in these areas. She received her Master of Science degree in Sport Administration from the University of Louisville in 2006 and her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Alabama in May 2011. Amy is currently working in her fifth year at the University of West Alabama, where she is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Speech. Her research interests include the media’s portrayal of gender diversity in sport, and audience perceptions of diverse mediated messages.

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