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A major sporting event or an entertainment show? A content analysis of Australian television coverage of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

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posted on 27.07.2021, 23:56 authored by Leanne ReesLeanne Rees, Priscilla RobinsonPriscilla Robinson, Nora ShieldsNora Shields
Outside of the Paralympic Games, elite athletes with disability rarely feature in the media. Using mixed method content analysis, the aim of this study was to compare the production and content of the 2016 Paralympic and Olympic Games broadcasts of an Australian commercial television network. Data were collected from recordings of a daily highlights show of the Paralympic and Olympic Games using a data abstraction tool with a priori codes. Data were coded for–content, participant(s) and context. Results suggest the Paralympic Games was broadcast as an entertainment show rather than a major sporting event. There were greater attempts during the Paralympic broadcast to elicit emotion; notions of competition vs. participation were raised; and stories of disability ran parallel to those of hardship. These differences in media portrayal of elite athletes with disability feed into existing notions that under-values their athleticism.


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Sport in Society






16p. (p. 1974-1989)





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