The construction and deconstruction of gender through sport reporting in selected South African newspapers

  • P Serra
  • C Burnett
Keywords: Gender, Sport journalism, South African newspapers.


Drawing upon the body of knowledge of the sociology of sport and content analysis of media studies, this research focuses on the construction of gender through sports reporting in selected South African newspapers. Methods utilized to determine such constructions, included: i) a quantitative survey in terms of frequency of articles (text) and the scope of photographic images and, ii) a qualitative or content analysis in terms of text and photographic images. Data was collected over a six-month period (1 April 2004 – 30 September 2004) to include all major international sport events. A total of 2 354 images and 5 300 articles were analysed to determine the rationale of the input and throughput phases. Interviews were conducted with three journalists from Beeld, The Star and The Sowetan. The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data conformed patriarchal values in prioritizing men and male sports (86.5%), while marginalizing women and their sport in biased reporting (construction of messages and images). Male sporting success, role models as sport stars and gender stereotyping in terms of masculine versus feminine representations of athletes, devaluate the athletic achievements of female athletes by using cultural and sexual innuendos.

Keywords: Gender; Sport journalism; South African newspapers.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical -Education and Recreation Vol. 29 (1) 2007: pp. 147-158

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069