Ott examines ESPN coverage

By Staff


Brian L. Ott, associate professor and associate chair of communication at the University of Colorado Denver, published an analysis of ESPN’s coverage of the Penn State sex abuse scandal during the first week following the release of the November 2011 Grand Jury presentment—which indicted former Penn State college football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of criminal sexual abuse.

Unnecessary roughness: ESPN’s construction of hypermasculine citizenship in the Penn State sex abuse scandal was published in Cultural Studies. Understanding ESPN’s coverage, particularly its framing of this story, reveals how the news media shape public attitudes and opinions, pressure public officials, and model agentive citizenship in response to public traumas.

Specifically, the essay argues that ESPN's visual-narrative framing of the scandal perpetuates a hypermasculine (and heteronormative) fantasy of violent vigilante justice that reduces political agency to personal and private acts.