Playing on the same pitch: attitudes of sports journalists towards fan bloggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sports journalism’s perceived proximity to fandom has posed professional problems relating to status, prestige and standards. Sports journalists are now seeing performative aspects of their occupational practice appropriated by fans using digital platforms. This paper outlines a study that involved in-depth semi-structured interviews with U.K. print sports journalists to explore what fan blogging has meant for their occupational identity. This study found sports journalists did not consider fan bloggers to be a threat to their professional distinctiveness. Bloggers seeking to emulate sports journalism’s daily beat routines were seen as conflictive. However, participants considered the occupation to be safeguarded by privileged accreditation to professional sport and access to resources. The study also discovered sports journalists held nuanced attitudes towards bloggers and did not necessarily see them as inferior. Sports journalists saw a value in bloggers with niche, writer-driven interests in providing complementary content to mainstream media. Sports journalists could legitimise blogs through acceptance and adoption while asserting their own cultural dominance. There were positive indications this expansion and diversification of the sports section of print media websites could lead to a range of perspectives and exposure of marginal voices. Participants also indicated blogging had become an entry route into the occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-566
Number of pages18
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Digital Journalism on 27/10/2016, available online:


  • sports journalism
  • blogging
  • media
  • communication
  • print
  • digital
  • occupation
  • Web 2.0


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