Methodology for Examining Stereotypical Written and Photographic Reporting on the Sports Page

Article excerpt

In their examiniation of written and photographic newspaper reporting of interscholastic sports, Pedersen and Whisenant (2003) determined the existence of hegemonic masculinity within the sports pages of the Florida print media. Based upon their analysis, they found that both female and male athletics were over-represented in both written and photographic coverage of traditionally accepted "sex appropriate" sports. Male athletics were under-represented in both written and photographic coverage of "sex inappropriate" sports. Female athletics, when analyzing their participation in isex inappropriatei sports, were under-represented in the photographic coverage but not in the written coverage.

Pedersen and Whisenant (2003) used content analytic methodology to examine articles and photographs of interscholastic athletics appearing over a one-year period in every general circulation daily newspaper (N=43) published in Florida. The sampling frame selected for this content analysis was from June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2000. The researchers constructed two weeks for each newspaper by randomly selecting through stratified sampling procedures 14 issues from each paper (Riffe, Aust, & Lacy, 1993). The study, which included a total sample size was 602 issues, involved a descriptive analysis of the written and photographic areas of high school sports included in the selected issues. Each of the two coders participated in a pre-coding session, which was followed by a pilot study. After successful completion of these preliminary steps, the coders independently examined the 120 randomly selected newspaper sports sections (20% of the sample) to test for intercoder reliability (Riffe, Lacy & Fico, 1998). In the intercoder reliability testing phase, the agreement between the coders in the overlap area resulted in percentages that ranged from 84.9 to 97.2. The calculated scores for probability of chance agreement between the two coders ranged from .845 to .972. These high numbers are understandable as most of the material coded was manifest content in nature (i.e., gender, sport). Furthermore, the percentages and numbers confirmed that the two coders had become thoroughly familiar with the coding protocol and codebook by the time the study was conducted. After reliability coding was completed, the coders received and coded the remaining 482 daily editions.

The analysis of data in the study by Pedersen and Whisenant (2003) included a determination of proportional and disproportional coverage. According to Malec (1994), in order for there to be an accurate comparison of the amount of coverage given to female and male athletics it must be tested against an independent standard. Cho (1993), Mathesen and Flatten (1996), and Urquhart and Crossman (1999) argued that the independent standard is best accomplished by placing gender equity in sport reporting in the context of participation rates. …