Sports media decision-making in France : how they choose what we get to see and read : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Sport Management at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Research to date on women in the sports-media has predominantly concentrated on comparisons of the type and amount of media coverage afforded to sportsmen and women. This substantial body of literature has consistently revealed that sports-media continues to be viewed as an exclusively masculine domain, where women remain under- and misrepresented. While content analyses are important in revealing the sexist portrayal of sportswomen in the media, they do little to provide guidance to sociologists on why this continues to occur. Looking behind the scenes into how sports-media content is produced has rarely been explored internationally, and not at all in France, yet is integral to understanding the process through which gendered coverage is sustained. The aim of this exploratory case study was to redress the deficit of sports-media research in France by undertaking a study of those responsible for the production of sports media content. It was guided by the central question: what role do sports-media producers play in perpetuating dominant ideologies in sport? The nine participants were drawn from experienced male and female sports content decision makers (editors and higher) from the major, national television and print media in France. Data was collected through individual semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews and open coded using NVivo 8. The analysis, based around five themes (ideal profile, feedback, sport selection, women’s sport, blame), revealed that the patterns of sport media decision-making in France show many similarities and some differences to those observed in other countries, but that the end result is the same: sports media content remains dominated by men’s sport. Findings indicate that women’s sport is subject to much harsher editorial selection criteria. Conclusions were drawn on what role the makers of sports media content in France have in reproducing this hegemonic masculinity so inherent in sports coverage. The findings will enable stakeholders such as sociologists, journalism academics, sport media management and sports organisations to consider ways through which hierarchical values and accepted patriarchal practices in the sports-media industry can be transformed.
Sportswomen in the media, Patriarchy in sports, Women's sport, Sports coverage