American sports writers’ social media use and its influence on professionalism

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22 Scopus citations


American sports writers’ use of social media as a newsgathering tool has influenced journalism practice, further complicating the industry’s abstract definition of “professionalism.” This study builds on a pilot study published in the fall 2011 issue of Journal of Sports Media, which assessed print sports journalists’ use of social media. In the current study, a survey was administered to 77 full-time print sports journalists who cover professional sports. This paper seeks to extend the pilot study and previous professional research in two ways: firstly, to assess how this specific subgroup of sports writers use Facebook and Twitter to gather information; and secondly, to analyze how these sports writers define “professionalism” and what industry factors correlate with chosen definitions, such as newspaper circulation and work superiors’ attitudes toward social media. Cross-tabulations and chi-square tests were used to test hypotheses. Cramer’s V or Phi, depending upon the cross-tabulation, were used to measure relationship strength. Results suggest this subset of sports writers more often uses Twitter for newsgathering purposing than Facebook. There is also a strong relationship between the frequency of Twitter usage and the definition of professionalism chosen; circulation size and instances of directly quoting from athletes’ social media accounts; and age and Twitter usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-571
Number of pages17
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Journalism practice
  • Newsgathering
  • Professional sports
  • Professionalism
  • Social media
  • Sports journalism


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