“Clean athlete” or “drug cheat and a jerk”? A comparative analysis of the framing of an athlete conflict in Australian and Chinese print media

Bo Li, Olan K.M. Scott, Stirling Sharpe, Qingru Xu, Michael Naraine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Media coverage in China and Australia examined a conflict between 2 Olympic swimmers, Chinese Sun Yang and Australian Mack Horton, during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. While both swimmers performed well, there were several conflicts between the 2 leading to both nations' media coverage portraying the foreign athlete negatively. An analysis of 398 print-media articles revealed there were sharp differences between the 2 nations in both the amount of coverage and the valence of the information sources. From a theoretical perspective, the framing of this conflict showed an “us vs. them” dichotomy, suggesting that both countries' coverage was strongly influenced to protect the reputation and honor of the home athlete. Coverage in both nations was markedly different, suggesting a home-nation favoritism. Implications for sport communicators are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-551
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Communication
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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