Saturday, November 06, 2010

Curley Center at NASSS Convention

Representatives of Penn State’s John Curley Center are currently enjoying the sunny weather in San Diego, California while taking part in the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport’s 31st annual conference. The four-day conference includes presentations from a variety of national and international scholars as well as current and former Penn State students and faculty.

Current Ph.D. student T.C. Corrigan organized and participated in the first Penn State-represented panel of the weekend, Producing Meaning in Sports Media: Practices, Structures, and Discourses. The panel was moderated by Penn State graduate, Dr. Erin Whiteside, and featured research related to linguistic organization of sports broadcasts, analysis of announcer discourse related to race in the NBA Finals, and Canadian NBA broadcasts in Punjabi.

Corrigan presented Studying Sports Blog Production: Methodological Challenges. In the discussion, Corrigan outlined the challenges faced when determining appropriate methodologies for researching the production of sports blogs. Currently in the process of identifying best ways for approaching this type of research, he argued that traditional observation practices related to journalism and broadcasting are unsuitable for blog-related research. His central question asks that if we restrict our observational methodologies and narrow ourselves to traditional research strategies, then how will that restrict our findings related to the way blogs are produced?

Blogs tend to be produced privately, and often by non-journalists or people with a keen interest in a specific topic – in this case, sports. The nature of sports blogging routines suggests that we should not approach the study of bloggers from a journalistically-based perspective, but from a new perspective dedicated solely to blogging. Space and time limitations exist in which a researcher cannot simply observe the production process, making traditional observation both methodologically and practically insufficient for studying blog production. By drawing upon traditional field work techniques such as document collection, long interviews and phone calls, Corrigan hopes to identify typicalities in blogging practices while creating a methodological bridge with traditional observation strategies.

Tomorrow, Dean Marie Hardin, Corrigan, and students Laura Caldwell and Melanie Formentin will present their own work in separate panels and roundtable discussions. They will be joined by PSU College of Comm graduates Whiteside and Jason Genovese. Check back for more updates from the conference.

- Melanie Formentin

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