Sports Media in the Age of Instant Information: Niche News and the Expanded Digital Marketplace

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University of Alabama Libraries

To gauge perspectives on the current and perceived future state of sports media, as seen by those experiencing this climate of constant change firsthand, this dissertation draws on insight gathered from 90 qualitative interviews with sportswriters and editors presently working within five unique subsets of the industry (newspapers, team-run media, The Athletic, Substack newsletters, and SB Nation blogging). Using four main communication concepts (niche gratification, journalistic boundary work, diffusions of innovation, and NGT 2.0) as the guiding framework, this research reveals that catering to the niche is perceived to be a key for sports media coexistence; yet, despite views that there will always be a place for sports news in the media ecosystem, the main business model for future stability is still unknown. Thus, the other themes advanced via this dissertation include: 1). the niche negates a sense of perceived direct competition, 2). technology breeds newer opportunity in a somewhat financial unstable industry, 3). market adaptation is ongoing for the foreseeable future, 4). sports media remains a male-dominated discipline, and 5). the future of sports media is cemented, yet precarious.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Journalism Business, Media coexistence, Niche gratification, Qualitative interviewing, Sports journalism, Sports media