Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

“It’s a Balancing Act”: Contradictory Ambitions of Journalistic Media in Addressing Harassment in Sport

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Abstract:  Over the last five years, the Finnish sports media has played a key role in disseminating information and stimulating debate on gender equity, sexual harassment, and the structures and culture that perpetuate the latter in sport. Triggered by the Me Too movement, the handling of harassment cases has shifted from the private domain to the public debate in the media, making it political. In this article, I study the perception of the politicisation of harassment within sports media. The article utilises interviews with 16 Finnish sports journalists who have been reporting on harassment cases in national and regional media houses. In the thematic analysis, the facilitators and constraints of harassment reporting are examined in relation to the prevailing power structures, culture, and attitudes in the professional sports environment. While the interviews highlight the changing face of sports journalism and, within it, an ambition to move from entertainment and performance reporting to socio-politically critical journalism, the article also highlights the problematic contradictions embedded in the ambition within sports media to address harassment in sport. The findings of this research suggest that when studying the outcomes of news reporting, it is important to pay attention to news production processes and the gendered aspects that influence them.

Keywords:  digitalisation; gender equity; hegemonic masculinity; identity politics; sexual harassment; sports journalism



© Veera Ehrlén. 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.