Representation of British footballers in the press: private versus public performance

CANTER, Lily and DOT GRAU, Maria (2019). Representation of British footballers in the press: private versus public performance. Journalism Education : The Journal of the Association of Journalism Education, 8 (1).

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The rapid expansion of sports coverage in the British press, particularly the national sport of football, has created celebrities of footballers who have been elevated to the position of role models and heroes, symbolising the talents of the nation. This status has left them vulnerable to press scrutiny and their private lives are often viewed as fair game in reporting circles. The substantial lack of empirical data on the representation of British footballers is addressed in this study via the analysis of four national newspapers over a 28 day period to examine how much the press report on their private and public lives. The data reveals tabloid newspapers' coverage is much more abundant than broadsheet newspapers' and tabloids contain more stories about the private lives of footballers, which are often more negative in sentiment. However the research concludes that despite expectations to the contrary, the British press represent footballers as sportsmen first and foremost, reporting infrequently on their private lives. Nevertheless there remains evidence of the celebrity status of footballers, particularly national team players past and present, and the existence of hero worshipping in the broadsheet press and role model scrutiny in tabloid newspapers.

Item Type: Article
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 15:22
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 03:02

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