Sports Journalism as Moral and Ethical Discourse

Document Type




Format of Original

16 p.

Publication Date



Taylor & Francis

Source Publication

Journal of Mass Media Ethics

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1080/08900520701583628


This paper explores the marginalized practice of sportswriting to demonstrate the limited ways in which the question “who is a journalist?” has been answered within the profession. Following John Dewey and Raymond Williams, we offer an alternative view of democratic culture that values narrative as well as information. We also discuss how “New Journalists” (and other writers since), in their quest for fresh, sophisticated storytelling strategies, turned to sports as a cultural activity worthy of serious examination. Our goal is to demonstrate that sportswriting fundamentally resembles other forms of reporting and that journalism should not use sports as an ethical straw man against which to defend the virtue of its serious work. This suspension of our usual ethical judgments would deepen our sense of the moral significance of sportswriting and allow us to rethink journalism's relation to democratic culture in productive new ways.


Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Vol. 22, No. 4 (2007): 332-347. DOI.