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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 10 - Fall 2021 - Fall 2022

The Image of the Sportswriter in Television

Chad Painter


Popular culture portrayals play a role in influencing public feelings about real-world journalists, coloring the perception and clout of the field at least as much if not more than work performed by actual journalists. This influence is especially true for sports journalists for a number of reasons. First, sports are a large component of American life. Second, there is an overall lack of research on television—as opposed to film—representations of the press even though television reaches more people than do movies. Third, this lack of research especially is true for television portrayals of sports journalists, who are virtually absent from the scholarly discussion. This essay begins the academic conversation by examining the image of the sportswriter in several television shows. It starts with a deep dive into "Sports Night," a multi-layered series about sports journalists that covered all aspects of production. The essay then moves to discussions about several other sports-themed television shows—"Brockmire," "The Odd Couple," "Everybody Loves Raymond," and "My Boys" — before concluding with some suggestions of other television shows featuring sports journalists that researchers could focus on to further the discussion about the image of sports journalists in television.

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