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The Nice List: Media – Media In Canada

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The Nice List: Media

From strategic sponsorships to chilling experiential, we picked the media campaigns that deserved some year-end kudos.

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From strategic sponsorships to chilling experiential, we picked the media campaigns that deserved some year-end kudos.

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Polarising, sensational media coverage of transgender athletes should end – our research shows a way forward – The Conversation Indonesia

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Given recent and often sensationalist media coverage of the issue, it’s easy to overlook the fact that transgender athletes have participated in elite sport for decades – at least as far back as tennis player Renée Richards competing in in the 1976 US Open.

Renée Richards playing at the Women’s 1976 US Open Tennis Championships.
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Transgender athletes have also been able to compete in the Olympic Games since 2004. But in the past year, the visibility of transgender women athletes such as New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard and American swimmer Lia Thomas has triggered considerable media interest and public debate.

Most recently, international water sports federation FINA has released a new policy that will only allow transgender women athletes who’ve transitioned before the age of 12 to take part in elite international swimming competitions. Some have called the policy trans-exclusionary and an “unacceptable erosion of bodily autonomy”.

Clearly, the topic raises critical questions of sex, gender and sport categorisation, requiring complex argument and nuanced understanding of transgender issues. Media coverage, however, can frame those questions in starkly oppositional terms, suggesting there are only two sides to the debate (for or against inclusion) and that “fairness” and “inclusion” are irreconcilable.

Our research, published this week (and in a forthcoming book, Justice for Trans Athletes: Challenges and Struggles), suggests news media are not neutral in their reporting of these issues and they play a powerful role in shifting public perception and shaping policy regarding transgender people’s participation in sport.

Language, framing and voice

To examine this, we analysed the written media coverage surrounding New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard’s qualification and participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We examined 620 English-language articles across three time periods, from the announcement of her qualification, during the Games and after the event.

Building on previous research into media coverage of transgender people, we started by establishing a language “codebook” that included categories such as inclusion, fairness, mis-gendering and medical transition details.

Second, we created subcategories based on content tone and implied meaning, coding for every speaker in a given article.




Read more:
Why the way we talk about Olympian Laurel Hubbard has real consequences for all transgender people


We found that despite helpful media guides produced by LGBTQI+ organisations such as Athlete Ally, GLAAD and the Trans Journalists Association, much of the coverage continued to repeat old patterns, including the use of problematic language such as “deadnaming” (using a pre-transition name).

Overall, our study revealed a common framing of the topic as a “legitimate controversy” (a term coined by communications scholar Daniel Hallin in his analysis of media coverage of the Vietnam War).

The significant majority of media in our sample framed Hubbard’s inclusion in polarising “for or against” terms, and explicitly and implicitly narrated her Olympic inclusion and participation as highly questionable, and the topic as open for public debate.

One of the more sensationalist pieces argued her participation would be a “terrible mistake that destroys women’s rights to equality and fairness – and will kill the Olympic dream for female athletes”.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard speaks to international media during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Getty Images

Nuance and complexity

Most reports, however, took a less extreme approach, instead presenting the details of Hubbard’s life – her transition and how she met IOC criteria – in a way that invited the audience to take a position on her inclusion.

But while selectively seeking and using quotes from advocates and opponents might be perceived as balanced and good journalistic practice, it also risks stifling a more nuanced dialogue. Some media sources even used public polling, further framing this as a debate that everyone – regardless of expertise – should join.

Although Hubbard’s view was often included in the form of prepared statements from press releases or quotes from older interviews, she was presented as just one voice – not necessarily an important one – in the debate about her own inclusion.




Read more:
The debate over transgender athletes’ rights is testing the current limits of science and the law


Our research shows that what has been lacking in much media coverage is a sense of Hubbard’s humanity and her own experiences of her athletic career. In essence, she was denied the one thing she ever asked of the media: “to be treated the way that other athletes have been treated”.

Scientists’ views were given the most credence, particularly those focused narrowly on the effects of testosterone. Journalists rarely acknowledged that the scientific community itself is divided, or that research on this subject remains contested, with little focusing specifically on trans women athletes.

Previous research has demonstrated the psychological harm, including stress and depression, done by negative or stereotypical media depictions of transgender people. This includes framing their participation in society and sport as “up for debate” or “out of place”.




Read more:
A win for transgender athletes and athletes with sex variations: the Olympics shifts away from testosterone tests and toward human rights


Ethical and responsible reporting

However, a few journalists in our sample adopted more ethical approaches in their reporting on Hubbard’s inclusion. We interviewed several, who spoke of their efforts to further educate themselves and to limit harmful rhetoric. As one American sports journalist explained:

In general, this notion that journalists serve their audience by just “here’s both sides, you decide” is a fallacy. It is our job to try to sort through some of this, where there is disproportionate harm, disproportionate blame.

Another Australian journalist spoke of the need for more nuanced coverage:

I wish that there was more of a will inside the media to expand the conversation […] to paint the complexities. But unfortunately […] everything is a very quick response, often with no foundation or research, no time given to it. [So] the temptation is you just go for the headline. And I think that’s where the media is failing a lot of these more complex discussions.

We also acknowledge how challenging this issue is to write about well, accurately, non-sensationally and constructively. This is similarly experienced by many academics.

To move this conversation forward productively will require responsible journalism that considers the complexities of the subject, engages critically with science, and respects and values the voices and lived experiences of transgender athletes and those from the wider transgender community.

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Toronto media day: Raducanu eyes 'a clean slate'; Sakkari faces a tough truth – WTA Tennis

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TORONTO — Emma Raducanu says she is looking forward to a fresh start to her career ahead of her title defense at the US Open later this month. This week, the World No.10 returns to her birthplace in Toronto to make her tournament debut at the National Bank Open.

Toronto: Draw | Order of Play | Tournament 411

Fresh off a run to the quarterfinals of the Citi Open last week, Raducanu was asked to reflect on her US Open win and follow-up season.

“To have success at a young age, obviously you have to be really grateful because I’m doing what I love, but also I’ve reached success way earlier than I ever really would have thought I did,” Raducanu said. “So I’m pretty proud of myself in that way. 

“But it has been a tough year. I’ve definitely gone through and experienced a lot of challenges. To be fair, I’ve learned a lot from all of it. I think it’s going to be nice once the US Open is finished and [I can] carry on from there. Start again. 

“I think it will be nice to take all of the lessons from the last year and just [have] a clean slate.” 

Seeded No.9 this week, Raducanu will face 2021 Montreal champion Camila Giorgi in the first round. 

Washington: Raducanu triumphs over Osorio in two tiebreaks

2022 Washington D.C.

In search of the real Maria Sakkari

After taking a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Shelby Rogers in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic last week, World No.3 Maria Sakkari had to face a difficult truth: She was not enjoying the life of a top tennis player. 

Sakkari, Osaka among players looking for a spark in Toronto

“I just sat down with [Coach] Tom [Hill] for a lot of hours and just realized that I’m not enjoying being one of the best players in the world, which was something very tough to admit and very tough to handle,” Sakkari told reporters. “But it’s the truth. It’s the reality. I think that the pressure and everything was something I had to deal with.”

Sakkari has not been herself since making the biggest final of her career this spring at Indian Wells, where she lost to Iga Swiatek in the championship match. Sakkari credits her mother, former player Angeliki Kanellopoulou, for reminding her to enjoy her career. It won’t last forever. 

“After the match against Paula [Badosa in the Indian Wells semifinals] it was very emotional because I knew that I was going to be a Top 3 player after winning that match,” Sakkari said. “[In Greece] I was always the person and the player that, because my mom was very famous back home, they always used to say ‘She’s never going to make it, even if she changes everything. She will never make it.’ And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I become one of the best players in the world. 

“So for me, it was very tough to handle it. I struggled. Sometimes when you are on the tour and you play week after week, you don’t stop and you don’t realize what you have really achieved. It takes time for some people and I believe that it took time for me. 

“But I feel like I’m on the right track to being myself again. And I believe you’re going to see a different Maria than in the last three months.” 

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Netflix is not in deep trouble. It's becoming a media company – CNN

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New York (CNN Business)Netflix has had a terrible 2022. In April, it said it lost subscribers for the first time since 2011. Its stock has tumbled more than 60% so far this year.

Yet its recent struggles may not be the start of a downward spiral or the beginning of the end for the streaming giant. Rather, it’s a sign that Netflix is becoming a more traditional media company.
Netflix (NFLX) was originally valued as a Big Tech company, part of the Wall Street acronym, “FAANG,” which stood for Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix and Google (GOOG). Wall Street once valued the company at about $300 billion — a number on par with many Big Tech companies that Netflix’s business model ultimately couldn’t live up to.
“I think Netflix was extremely overvalued,” Julia Alexander, director of strategy at Parrot Analytics, told CNN Business. “Unlike those companies that have different tentacles, Netflix does not have a lot of tentacles.”
But Netflix was never really a tech company.
Yes, it relied on subscriber growth like many companies in the tech world, but its subscriber growth was built on having films and TV shows that people wanted to watch and pay for. That’s more a like a studio in Hollywood than a tech company in Silicon Valley.
Netflix looked a lot more like a tech company than, say, Disney, Comcast, Paramount or CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. But as those traditional media companies start to look a lot more like Netflix, Netflix in turn is starting to take page out of its rivals’ playbooks: It’s going to start serving ads and it has been releasing some shows over the course of weeks and months rather than all at once.
Netflix has said that its cheaper ad tier and clampdown on password sharing may come next year. It’s partnering with Microsoft (MSFT) for its ad business.
“I think in many ways the moves Netflix are making suggest a transition from tech company to media company,” Andrew Hare, a senior vice president of research at Magid, told CNN Business. “With the introduction of ads, crackdown on password sharing, marquee shows like ‘Stranger Things’ experimenting with a staggered release, we are seeing Netflix looking more like a traditional media company every day.”
Hare added that Netflix’s former business strategy, which was “once sacrosanct is now being thrown out the window.”
“Netflix once forced Hollywood deeply out of its comfort zone. They brought streaming to the American living room,” he said. “Now it appears some more conventional practices could be what Netflix needs.”
At Netflix right now, “a lot of these strategic moves are being made as they mature and move into the next phase as a company,” noted Hare. That includes focusing on cash flow and revenue rather than just growth.
“In other words, old school business,” he said.
— CNN Business’ Moss Cohen contributed to this report.

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