Women sports journalists in the Spanish press : imbalance and gender bias in the coverage of the Olympics

Objectives: This study analyses the presence of sports journalists in the news stories published by the Spanish digital sports press during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The aims were to establish whether there are quantitative imbalances in the authorship of the news reports and to identify any gender biases that may contribute to perpetuating inequality in the newsrooms of these media companies.

Methodology: A content analysis of the four digital sports newspapers in Spain with the largest readerships (Marca, As, Mundo Deportivo and Sport) was carried out during the days of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. A total of 5189 news items were published, and were assessed in this study from a gender perspective.

Results: The results reveal an imbalance in the authorship of the news items published during the Rio Olympics in terms of the numbers of stories signed by male and female sports journalists. In addition, a gender bias was also perceived. Women’s sports were covered more often by female journalists and the focus tended to be more on national sports or on traditionally female events such as tennis or athletics. Events with a more international coverage, and traditionally male sports, tended to be reported on by male journalists.