Award Date

5-1-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Paul J. Traudt

Second Committee Member

Nancy Lough

Third Committee Member

Benjamin Burroughs

Fourth Committee Member

Gary Larson

Number of Pages

87

Abstract

Studies have found that media coverage of women’s sports is inadequate when compared with coverage of men’s sports. The results of these studies have revealed inadequacies in terms of amount of coverage as well as type of coverage. Findings demonstrate that there is a certain way media frame female athletes when they are covered. Female athletes are often portrayed in overly sexualized images, as feminine role models, as passive rather than active, and in sports that are considered gender-appropriate. These types of portrayals can perpetuate gender bias and stereotypes, undermine the true athletic ability of female athletes, and give the audience the idea that male athletes are more important than female athletes.

Past research, with few exceptions, has found inequitable coverage of female and male athletes in every media type studied, from print and television to the Internet. Some exceptions to the common findings include not-for-profit media, such as the NCAA News, and Internet-based publications. The current study combined the two aforementioned media types to determine if athletic departments that are affiliated with the NCAA offer more balanced coverage of female and male athletes on their official websites than has been found in past research.

The results revealed that although the type of coverage the athletes received was similar, the amount was not. Females were underrepresented in articles and photographs on NCAA athletic department home webpages. The fact that the webpages analyzed by the current content analysis represent a more modern media type at not-for-profit, NCAA-affiliated institutions, did not lead to the overall balance in coverage that was originally expected.

Keywords

Athletics; Media; National Collegiate Athletic Association; Sport; Title IX; Women

Disciplines

Broadcast and Video Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication

Language

English