Doctoral student Saks co-authors survey of ESPN coverage with recent graduate Dr. Molly Yanity
All is not fair in ESPN’s ”Top 10 Plays“ segment.
In 2013, Scripps scholars Jeremy Saks and Molly Yanity set out to discover whether some major sports received more exposure than others in this hallmark of American professional sports coverage. They presented their paper at the 2014 AEJMC conference in Montreal.
In the abstract of the report, ”The Not-So Neutral Zone: ESPN, Agenda Setting, and the National Hockey League,“ Saks and Yanity report that ”given the lucrative partnerships involved with securing the rights to televise live events, ESPN is ripe for conflicts of interest.“ After all, the television agency, ”has the potential to set the news agenda by showcasing highlights and reporting to emphasize the events for which it has exclusive deals.“
Because ESPN is not licensed to broadcast NHL events, they have less interest in covering hockey on their network of channels, despite the proportional popularity of hockey as compared with basketball, football, and baseball.
”Polls have shown that people are just as likely to name hockey as their favorite sport as they are to name basketball,“ Saks said. ”So it isn’t a matter of ESPN “giving the people what they want.”
Saks’s co-author, Molly Yanity, graduated from the Scripps School of Journalism’s doctoral program in 2013. She is currently an assistant professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
“We hope to continue this line of research in the future,” said Saks, who is planning on graduating at the end of this academic year.