Ethical Journalism and Practical Standards for Australian Sporting Controlled News

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Sport reporting has the ability to unite the masses and change attitudes, empower the disenfranchised and promote examples for the social good. This is especially true in Australia where national values are closely aligned with the culture of sport. Journalists are the architects of public opinion, however there is some debate as to what constitutes ‘news’ and what is simply ‘entertainment’. Sport is at the nexus of in this debate as journalists in sport controlled in-house media departments create content to be published under the heading of ‘news’ on corporate platforms. This interdisciplinary mixed-methods work uses theories from journalism, media studies, sociology, and business studies to examine and understand the sociological and industrial importance of these changes.

This thesis will investigate the ‘unstable’ nature of sporting journalism, by using content studies and case studies from the Australian Football League (AFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America. This work explores if ethical codes, organisational structures, and economic influences have damaged the traditional values of journalism. By using the lens of Anomie theory to discuss the decline of ethical standards in journalism, this work contends that as online news developed, ethical journalism values stood still.

Ultimately this research contends that the ‘unstable’ nature of sporting journalism has created a false sense of media competition, which has legacy media competing with public relations. Using theories of The Public Sphere and the Fourth Estate, this work makes strong policy and organisational recommendations in order to maintain a robust code of ethics within any journalistic working environment.
Date of Award29 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Deakin University
SupervisorToija Cinque (Supervisor) & Bernard East (Supervisor)

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