Toy department within the toy department? Online sports journalists and professional legitimacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study explores the professional legitimacy of online sports journalists as an
emergent group within the occupation in the United Kingdom. Two typologies of
sports journalists working for national news organisations are identified (traditional
and online) and semi-structured interviews conducted with both groups. Drawing on
concepts from the sociology of professions, the study applies three sub-definitions of
professionalism – normative, cognitive and evaluative – to online sports journalism.
The findings indicate that online sports journalists both see themselves and are seen
as professionally illegitimate in all three sub-definitions despite a reputation for digital innovation. Sports journalists consider their professional jurisdiction to be defined by traditional norms, values and practices while refusing to accommodate newer, digitally native approaches. Traditional sports journalists enhance their legitimacy by positioning online colleagues as a ‘toy department within a toy department’, similar to how news journalists disparage the sports desk to elevate their own professional claims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournalism
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Simon McEnnis, Toy department within the toy department? Online sports journalists and professional legitimacy, Journalism. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s) . Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

Keywords

  • Boundary work
  • professionalism
  • digital journalism
  • online journalism
  • sports journalism

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