A survey of 132 sports editors at the top daily newspapers in the United States found that newspapers with a smaller circulation reported more coverage of women’s sports than those with bigger circulation.
The survey was conducted by Pamela C. Laucella of Indiana University-Purdue University, Marie Hardin of Penn State University and Steve Bien-Aimé of Bradley University. They found a negative correlation between a newspaper’s circulation size and the sports editors’ reported coverage estimates.
A similar negative correlation existed between the circulation size and sports editors’ belief that their readers were less interested in women’s sports.
The same study also found that about 75 percent of the editors felt ethically obligated to cover women’s sports and hire women. Editors from larger newspapers were more likely to feel this obligation than those at smaller papers. With that being said, one-third of the newspapers involved in the survey had no women working in the sports department.
Larger newspapers were more likely to have at least one woman working in the sports department even though those newspapers with larger were less likely to cover women’s sports.
To read the full text of the study:
Laucella, P., Hardin, M., Bien-Aime, S.& Antunovic, D. (2017). Diversifying the Sports Department and Covering Women’s Sports: A Survey of Sports Editors. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (2017), 94 (3), 772-792.