University of Technology Sydney

57205 Digital Sports Journalism

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: Journalism
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject equips students with the skills required for reporting, analysis and audience engagement in digital environments across sporting codes and institutions. Students examine the changing nature of sports journalism, the business of sport and rise of the 'informed fan' as a powerful force of both journalistic opportunity and media disruption. Students work with experienced sports journalists and gain hands-on reporting experience via UTS's unique partnership with the SCG Trust and other industry relationships. They examine how the nature of sports journalism is changing, the intersection of sport and politics, and the multiple ethical, legal and policy issues that arise in the area. Industry leaders, sports stars and other guest lecturers provide students with practical guidance and insights for building a career in sports journalism and related disciplines.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Analyse key concepts and shifting strategies for journalists covering sport in the digital environment
b. Describe current social and political issues in sport
c. Create a body of journalistic work
d. Evaluate whether their work meets professional standards

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Possess an advanced understanding of the professional skills and techniques in contemporary sports media practice (1.1)
  • Apply a high level of initiative to create content using multiple techniques and within industry accepted frameworks of accountability (1.2)
  • Be reflexive critical thinkers and creative practitioners who are intellectually curious, imaginative and innovative (2.1)
  • Reflect critically on the professional practice of contemporary sports media (2.2)
  • Demonstrate skills in engagement to enable effective communication with multiple stakeholders, using traditional and emerging techniques (6.1)
  • Harness multiple channels of communication, understanding the power and limitations of each as a tool to spread information and engage specific audiences and communities (6.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

Students will become familiar with the current social and political issues facing sport in a series of face-to-face lectures with guest lecturers who will give personal and professional insights into key areas of focus for modern day sports-specific journalists.

The key concepts and strategies for covering sport in a digital environment will be discussed in tutorials. By examining current case studies, analysing and critiquing the reporting of them, and creating an individual body of work, students will learn how to uphold strong journalistic values and contribute to making the industry stronger. This is a student-centric learning model so discussion, feedback, critiquing and peer reviews are an expected part of the learning environment.

In preparation for their assessment tasks, students will complete a series of online modules featuring interviews with industry leaders and other specialists. At various intervals during the interview each student will be required to input his/her contribution to the discussion before being able to move on. This is designed to keep the student engaged in analysing the topic while contributing real-time critical commentary.

Students will be required to undertake site visits to report on sporting events/issues through the University’s unique association with the SCG Trust and other industry groups. This will aid in developing the student’s industry contact and network relationships across a number of sporting disciplines.

Students will work as individuals and, on occasion, as part of a larger group to design a portfolio of journalistic work to be showcased on each student’s personal WordPress site. An early session master class with a leading industry technologist will update the latest practical and technical skills required.

Content (topics)

This subject covers concepts specific to journalists working in the sports environment. As sports themselves continue to take a greater stake in driving content and platform ownership the flow-on effect for journalists is a key challenge for those working in the industry. While news content is still a cornerstone for sports journalists, it is crucial that journalists are also dynamic and creative content producers who can read market-driven trends and tailor their stories to a constantly shifting audience. Topics include sports law, anti-doping, governance, politics, social impact and diversity. The subject will explore the particulars of sports journalism, design templates and the journalism Code of Ethics as it relates to high profile or mega-events. The challenges for domestic competitions in a globalised, social media driven market will be examined to identify the changing sports landscape and issues faced by governing bodies.


Assessment task 1: Online news story


a and c

Weight: 25%

3 minutes audio

400 word story

100 word interviewee/topic descriptor

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth of research 30 a 1.1
Relevance to critical concepts 20 a 2.2
Originality 20 c 1.1
Technical proficiency & use of social media 15 c 1.2
Clarity of design 15 c 6.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Group podcast


a, b and c

Weight: 25%

8 minutes

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Contribution to group 40 b 1.2
Originality 40 c 2.1
Using the digital medium to enhance audience interest 20 a 6.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Final project extended online story


b, c and d

Weight: 50%

1000 words (excluding tweets and FB posts)

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Narrative construction 25 c 6.1
Depth of research and analysis 25 d 2.1
Criticality of observations 35 b 2.2
Impact of design of digital work 15 d 1.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Attendance is essential in this subject. Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor. A roll will be taken at each class. Students who have more than two absences from class will be refused final assessment (see Rule 3.8).?

In this subject assessment tasks are cumulative so that each task builds understanding and/or skills, informed by formative feedback. Consequently, all assessments must be submitted in order for you to receive feedback. Students who do not submit all assessments will not pass the subject.

Required texts

There are no required texts for this subject. Recommended readings will be available via UTS library and the online UTS site.


Bivens, R. K. 2008, ‘The internet, mobile phones and blogging’, in Journalism Practice, 2:1, pp.113-129

Boyle, R. & Haynes, R. 2009, ‘Power play: sport, the media and popular culture’, 2nd edition, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh

Bowman, S. & Willis, C. 2003, ‘We media: how audiences are shaping the future of news and information’, American Press Institute, Arlington

Cushion, S. & Lewis, J. (eds) 2010, ‘The rise of 24-hour news television, global perspectives’, Peter Lang, New York

Crawford, K. 2011, ‘News to me: Twitter and the personal networking of news’, in Meikle, G. & Redden, G. (eds), News Online, (Palgrave MacMillan, London) pp.115-131

Dahlgren, P. 2009, ‘Media and political engagement: citizens, communication, and democracy’, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Dunlop, T. 2013, ‘The new front page, new media and the rise of the audience’, Scribe Publications, Brunswick

Eldridge, S. 2013, ‘Changing journalism’, in Digital Journalism, Vol 1:1, pp.172-173

Fenton, N. 2010, ‘New media, old news’, Sage, London

Hermida, A. 2010, ‘Twittering the news, the emergence of ambient journalism’, in Journalism Practice, Vol.4:3, pp.297-308

Manahan, M. 2015, ‘The future of sports journalism in a technologically driven world’, in Sport Techie, 2015/ 02/ 24/ technology/ digitalmedia/ the-future-of-sports-journalism-in-a-technologically-driven-world/ accessed 12 November 2016

Moritz, B. 2014, ‘Rooting for the story: Institutional sports journalism in the digital age’, cgi/ viewcontent.cgi?article=1171&context=etd accessed 04 November 2016

Rosen, J. 2006, ‘The people formerly known as the audience’, Press Think: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine, 2006/ 06/ 27/ ppl_frmr.html accessed 15 November 2016

Singer, J. 2003, ‘Who are these guys? The online challenge to the notion of journalistic professionalism’, in Journalism Theory, Practice and Criticism, Vol4:2, pp.139-68

Thurman, N. 2008, ‘Forums for citizen journalists? Adoption of user generated content initiatives by online news media’, in New Media and Society, 10:1, pp.139-157.

Westlund, O. 2013, ‘Mobile News’, in Digital Journalism, Vol. 1(1), pp.6-26