Is It Equitable Online? TheMedia Coverage Of The 2007NCAA Basketball Tournament On Foxsports.com An article by SMART Journals By Chris Ostrow
What Happened This Week In Sports?• Opening day of baseball and the opening of new baseball stadiums in New York.• The Men’s Final four took place.• Plaxico Burress Cut From New York Giants.• Am I missing anything?
Title IX• Title IX, is a law that was enacted on June 23rd, 1972 that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Here we are 37 years later and how much has really changed? Women in sports are allowed to compete, but are they getting the fair amount of coverage?
How Do You Define Equal Coverage?• Its not just when the media gives an article or a photo about womens sports, but also by not showing female athletes as sex objects, but as gifted and skilled athletes. Maria Sharapova was once the first ranked tennis star. When typing her name on google the first image that pops up is her in a bikini. “This could also take place when the media shows women as talent less and portrayed as masculine” (Grappendorft Line 3, Paragraph 2).• There is nothing wrong with women wanting to look feminine and attractive in my opinion, but I think female athletes deserve the same respect for their athletic abilities just as males get.
What Is Missing? Lack Of Coverage• Many Times a box score isn’t just enough but to actually get the story behind the The mens college final four is constantly talked team or the coach about on sports radio, television, and newspapers. The womens final four has a is what is left team that is going for a third perfect season in missing when the University of Connecticut who will be playing against Louisville in the championship covering female and many people arent even aware of it. “As a result of the lack of coverage the games sports. receive it is almost impossible for fans to connect to the games and the athletes that participate in them.” (Grappendorf)
Historic Events• According to womensports.com the number one event in women’s sports history was Billy Jean King taking on Bobby Riggs in the challenge of the sex’s competition. Over 50 million people tuned into the event to watch it. Some other events I found interesting was number two the passing of title IX in 1972, and with it the participation of women’s sports has grown from 300,000 to 3 million today. At number ten was during the war in 1948 where the All American Girls Professional baseball league drew at its height over three million fans. At number nine in 1996 is when Softball and soccer make their Olympic debut and women dominate. The Americans win gold in softball and soccer, as well as basketball, gymnastics and synchronized swimming.
I agree with this because if something is talked about often enough it can be viewed as a larger than life spectacle. Something as simple as selectinphoto to capture the image of the summary of the story can make a big difference in which the light of the story is viewed in. How Can The Media Improve Its Coverage? • The types of language, print, broadcast, and online media have an immediate and future impact on society’s view of female athletes. “The Media has a huge responsibility and power in not only what it chooses to cover but how it covers an event. The way that sports are covered determines how they are viewed by society as a whole.” (Grappendorf)
Background Of The Study• The study was done on foxsports.com• Foxsports.com is the 3rd largest sports online website trailing only espn.com and mlb.com• The study researched does foxsports.com give a fair amount of quality and quantity research on the 1st and 2nd round of The men and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament in both photos and text?
Historical Coverage Of Women’s Sports• Throughout History Women have not received the same amount of coverage as men through newspapers and television.• The Olympics has been the one exception where both men and women have received similar amount of coverage• The Internet is the newest form of communication will it be different from the past?
Research on the 1st and 2nd rounds• Two Researchers went through every paragraph and every picture to not just have one opinion on the matter• Schedules were collected from NCAA.com and read over the websites at 8 a.m, 1 p.m, and 7 p.m• They did this routine to get the media reports from nights before, projections, and then what occurred during the day.• After the research was checked over it was put into an Excel Document
Results and Differences• Men Received 53.8% of the coverage and Women Received 46.2%• The main difference between the coverage of the two genders was that men articles tended to cover the personal stories behind the game and the women’s were just facts from the game.• Its good the games got covered but if women’s sports want to draw a fan base they are going to need more out of the articles.
Problems With The Lack Of Coverage• It is difficult in my opinion for women’s sports to grow when they just simply aren’t being covered enough as male sports. Sports News Feeds such as ESPN barely scroll any of the league scores.• Advertisers won’t spend money on events that they feel aren’t giving there product the most exposure.• It is up to the internet being the newest form of media communication to develop and to garner interests in new and creative ways.
How Can Foxsports.com and other websites improve the coverage of women’s sports?• “Photographs provide a visual interest and cues to capture an audience. It is important for women to be represented because photos entice the reader to read the article.” (Grappendorf Paragraph 4 Line 1)• If a photograph looks dull and boring nobody will read the article. Photographs summarize what you are about to be reading and represent the story. With fewer photos on the foxsports.com website it continues the notion that women are still being under represented even on the internet.• It is important for females to have an outlet in sports and to have role models to look up to.
Were there any limits on the study?• Some limitations that may have occurred in my opinion during this research study are that it only covers the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament on foxsports.com. This may limit because the researcher can not fully know the extent of the results. Some possible ways for the research to get a definitive answer is by expanding their research to the whole entire tournament.
In Conclusion• In conclusion “While athletic accomplishments are being reported, a balance between accomplishments and personal athletic information must be reported to attract and connect readers with players and or teams.” (Grappendorf Paragraph 1 Line 1)
My opinion• In my opinion it is not simply enough to give the box score and a three sentence summary of the game. “Potentially, owners, editors and reporters have the ability to change the coverage provided for women’s sports. Whether as commentators or sports writers/editors, more women in the field could potentially decrease the inequitable coverage leading to more interest.” (Grappendorf Paragraph 1 Line 2)
• As future sports managers I think it is important to break down stereotypes and ethically decide what should be covered. With more of a significant following this could generate higher income for the women’s sports events and spending by advertisers. It is up to us to correct the mistakes that have been made in the past.