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Authors

Sada ReedFollow

Abstract

In the mid-nineteenth century, media generated sales based on their sports coverage, and sport grew in popularity, due to the media attention it received. This historically symbiotic relationship distinguishes sports journalism routines and practices from its news counterpart. Though David Weaver and his colleagues have conducted a national study of journalists’ perceptions of their roles and responsibilities since the 1980s, these studies did not isolate sports journalists. It is not clear how sports journalists perceive their roles, let alone if they align differently in Weaver and his colleagues’ measures of journalist role perception. The following study addresses this gap by using Weaver, Beam, Brownlee, Voakes, and Wilhoit’s 2007 measure of journalists’ role perception to survey 116 American sports journalists working for daily, weekly, and biweekly newspapers throughout the United States and to determine how their perception of their journalism roles differs from their “news” colleagues. This study also examines the relationship between newspaper circulation size and perceived journalism roles, as well as determines if characteristics, such as sex, race, circulation size, and years at current news organization, can predict sports journalists’ perception of their professional roles.

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