Social media coverage of sports information underrepresents women, the disabled and minority sports



The research describes the unequal coverage of these groups on the Twitter profiles of four European public broadcasters. Xavier Ramon, a researcher and lecturer with the Department of Communication, is co-author of the study published in Journalism Studies.

The research describes unequal sports coverage in respect of gender, people with disabilities and minority sports on the Twitter profiles dealing with sport of four European public broadcasters. Xavier Ramon , a researcher with the Journalism Research Group ( GRP ) and lecturer at the UPF Department of Communication , is co-author of a study, together with José Luis Rojas-Torrijos, a researcher at the University of Sevilla, which they have published in the journal Journalism Studies.

-One major challenge facing public media in the digital age is to promote comprehensive, broad and diverse sports coverage that gives visibility to underrepresented sports, women’s sport and adapted sport-, Xavier Ramon declares.

Ramon specializes in the fields of creating, producing and disseminating contents in the digital age, journalism ethics and media accountability, and sports communication.

The study shows that the four public broadcasters (RTVE, France TV, RAI and RTÉ) are highly active on Twitter and use a broad range of multimedia elements to attract users- attention and provide the most comprehensive coverage possible. Nevertheless, the analysis of 7,426 tweets published by RTVE, France TV, RAI and RTÉ reveals that the major inequalities that existed previously in the analogue media are reinforced in today’s world of communication.

The main conclusion of the study is that sports information on social networks is dominated by men’s football. Thus, women’s sport, disability sports and minority sports are left out in such a way that the reality of the traditional media is repeated.

Sportswomen were the subject of just 9.4% of the tweets studied

The authors provide sufficient evidence to show that sportswomen were the subject of just 9.4% of the tweets studied. -The persistence of the gender gap in sports coverage has serious consequences, since it limits the creation of female references in society, especially among young people-, Xavier Ramon points out.

The co-author of the study adds: -The -tyranny- of information concerning football, combined with preferential attention to certain sports in each region restricts the diversity of the agenda and leaves little room for showing minority sports. Restricting the visibility of minority sports limits their value in sporting, social and economic terms-.

Only 43 of the 7,246 messages analysed (0.58% of the sample) mention adapted sport

The lack of visibility of adapted sport on public corporation Twitter accounts is of great concern. The authors stress that only 43 of the 7,246 messages analysed (0.58% of the sample) mention adapted sport.

-In future, public corporations should take greater advantage of new technologies to promote a diverse and inclusive menu that contributes to training and educating citizens in diversity-, the authors conclude.

Related work:

José Luis Rojas-Torrijos, Xavier Ramon (2021), -Exploring Agenda Diversity in European Public Service Media Sports Desks: A Comparative Study of Underrepresented Disciplines, Sportswomen and Disabled Athletes- Coverage on Twitter-, Journalism Studies, doi.org/10.1080/1461­670X.2020.1809497


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