Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

From Social Clubs to Champions for Sports Journalistic Identity and Integrity

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Abstract:  Taking the FIFA World Cup in Qatar as a point of departure, this article analyses the changing role of national associations of sports journalists in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Introducing the concept of meta-journalistic discourse and well-established media system theories, it is argued that Nordic sports journalism’s negotiations of professional practices and standards are shaped by a particular media systemic context with distinct Nordic welfare state-oriented features. One such feature is a tradition of using collective, organized social groups, like democratically based voluntary associations, as instruments for social change. The empirical study explores this through a qualitative thematic analysis of the changing structures, identities, and practices of the national associations of sports journalists across the three countries. This illustrates how the organizations in particular during the last two decades have started very similar processes of transformation away from being mainly social clubs. The associations have used their collective frameworks and bargaining power to ensure independent journalists’ access to sports organizations and athletes, and they have engaged in negotiations of what sports journalism is and what constitutes sports journalism in a sports media landscape shaped by strong combined forces of digitization and politicization.

Keywords:  boundary work; digitization; FIFA World Cup; media system; meta journalistic discourse; politicization; sports journalism



© Kirsten Frandsen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.