Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Carlson


Current research reveals that mass media framing techniques used in sports media result in a lack of coverage for female athletes, a perception of “socially acceptable” sports for women, and the feminization of sports. Due to the historical sports victories occurring after 1996, such as the 1996 Olympics, the formation of the WNBA, and the US World Cup victory, there is a perceived and actual change in the popularity and participation in female sports. This study sought to determine whether these sports victories for women have been reflected in volume and in quality on the cover photographs and cover articles of Sports Illustrated from 1996 - 2005. A content analysis of 641 depicted subjects revealed significant differences between the photographic coverage o f male and female athletes and story content related to gender. Further, this study revealed that media framing is occurring through more subtleties and that it is often packaged under the label of female progress. These differences have implications in our understanding of female athletes, as well as in the future involvement of females in sports.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2007, Stephanie L. Hand