Gender balance in ESPN and espnw content
With an increasing number of females participating in sports, coverage of women’s sport is still disappointingly unbalanced. The launch of espnW seemed like an excellent platform to expand coverage of women’s sports. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the pattern of disproportionate coverage persisted when the content of top headlines/stories presented online by ESPN and espnW were compared. For five days in each of three weeks in April 2018, two pairs of researchers analyzed: (a) top headlines/stories, (b) buzz articles, and (c) photos located at or near the top of articles. A content analysis at the article and paragraph level was conducted based on codebooks developed to provide information related to (a) differences in the proportion of the content focused on female sports/athletes on each site, (b) the type of sports covered on each site, (c) the extent to which content was repeated from one day to the next, and (d) differences in the number and content of photos displayed on each site. Results indicated that differences in the proportion of content coverage of females were present: 23% of espnW article content focused on female athletes versus 31% of espnW article content focused on male athletes, and there was an even greater imbalance on ESPN where only 2% of the top headline articles focused on females. These results parallel previous studies’ findings of gender bias in sport media coverage.