Evolution of the Sportscast Highlight Form: From Peep Show to Pathé to Pastiche

Thumbnail Image


umi-umd-5574.pdf (3.41 MB)
No. of downloads: 7720

Publication or External Link






This dissertation traces the evolution of the sportscast highlight form. The highlight form emerged as the dominant technique of sportscasts as a result of the technological, economic and social changes that impacted media systems. Changes in technologies do not provide the entire account of the highlight form's development and deployment, so this study also explicates the importance of the protocols that express the intricate relationships between media producers, sports leagues and organizations, and audiences. It argues that the sportscast highlight form is not a recent development, given its prominent use within a news context in every medium from early news film and newsreels to television and new media.

As an example of media history, this project explicates each medium's contributions, not so much as discrete phenomenon, but as the relational totality which the term implies. Such macro-level histories necessarily take a more long-term view of the processes of historical change. Additionally, this methodology utilizes intertextuality as an analytical strategy to question whose interests were served from the evolution and deployment of this form, who benefited from the narratives represented through the form, and whose interests were consolidated from the commodification of the form. This study analyzes primary and secondary sources related to sportscasts, including early sport films, newsreels, network and cable programming, and new media content.

The significance of this study stems from the prominent position sports media in general and sports journalism in particular occupy within the political and cultural economy of late capitalism. The significance of this project is also evidenced in the considerable impact the national and regional sports networks have had on the proliferation of sportscasts. Lastly, this study analyzes the impacts electronic sports journalists have had in influencing and reflecting trends in race, gender, and ethnic relations, as well as political, economic and international affairs.