Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Carol M. Liebler


Digital news, Institutionalism, Media sociology, Newspapers, Social Media, Sports journalism

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation examines contemporary daily sports journalism through the lenses of media sociology and new institutional theory. In-depth interviews with 25 sports journalists (reporters and editors) identified the institutionalized norms, values, practices and routines of American sports journalism, demonstrated how that institutionalization affects story selection, and showed how the profession is changing due to digital and social media. The interviews show that although traditional sports journalism is highly institutionalized, digital sports journalism is far less so. Traditional sports journalism is still centered around a story, and digital sports journalism follows Robinson's (2011) journalism-as-process model. The journalists interviewed are expected to perform acts of both traditional and digital journalism during the same work day, which leads to tension in how they do their jobs.


Open Access