Sports media professionals reflect on racial stereotypes and ethnic diversity in the organization

Jacco van Sterkenburg*, Matthias de Heer, Palesa Mashigo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The aim of this article is to examine how professionals within Dutch sports media give meaning to racial/ethnic diversity in the organization and reflect on the use of racial stereotypes in sports reporting. Design/methodology/approach: Ten in-depth interviews with Dutch sports media professionals have been conducted to obtain the data. Respondents had a variety of responsibilities within different media organizations in the Netherlands. The authors used thematic analysis supplemented with insights from critical discourse analysis to examine how sports media professionals give meaning to racial/ethnic diversity and the use of racial/ethnic stereotypes. Findings: The following main themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews: (1) routines within the production process, (2) reflections on lack of diversity on the work floor and (3) racial/ethnic stereotyping not seen as an issue. Generally, journalists showed paradoxical views on the issue of racial/ethnic diversity within sport media production dismissing it as a non-issue on the one hand while also acknowledging there is a lack of racial diversity within sport media organizations. Results will be placed and discussed in a wider societal and theoretical perspective. Originality/value: By focussing on the under-researched social group of sport media professionals in relation to meanings given to race and ethnicity in the production process, this research provides new insights into the role of sports media organizations in (re)producing discourses surrounding race/ethnicity in multi-ethnic society and the operation of whiteness in sports media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalCorporate Communications
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication is part of the project ‘How racist is televised football and do audiences react?’ (with project number 0.16.vidi.185.174) of the research program Vidi which is financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Jacco van Sterkenburg, Matthias de Heer and Palesa Mashigo.

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Sports media professionals reflect on racial stereotypes and ethnic diversity in the organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this