A community of practice: Sport journalism, mobile media and institutional change

Brett Hutchins, Raymond Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Over two decades ago, Barbie Zelizer argued that journalists should be approached as an “interpretive community” in order to understand the processes through which journalists generate shared meanings around major political events. This article refocuses Zelizer’s concept in order to analyse the consequences of rapid technological transformation, fraught industry conditions, and disparate audience formations in the context of contemporary news media and journalism. Focusing on the challenges faced by professional sport journalists, we invoke the concept of “community of practice” to make sense of this fluid and commercially volatile context, using it to analyse empirically the experiences of journalists in Australia and Scotland. Informed by the interrelationship that exists between formats of news and the practices that produce it, this paper presents evidence drawn from in-depth semi-structured interviews with journalists, editors, news presenters and commentators who specialise in and/or work across newspapers, radio, television, online and mobile media. Understood as a community of practice, sport journalists are shown to be under pressure because of mutually reinforcing changes in mobile and digital media technologies, journalistic routines and institutional relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-512
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • media practice
  • mobile media
  • public relations
  • social media
  • source relations
  • sport journalism

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