Testing the Twin Cities: a textual analysis of frames surrounding daily Minnesota-St. Paul newspaper coverage of the 2017 Minnesota Lynx
Perception often is reality, and that is of particular importance to those in journalism. Previous research illustrates that the language journalists use to describe the subjects they cover has the ability to impact public perception of those subjects, as well as the perception about the groups to which the subjects belong. The purpose of this research project is to determine how the frames used by beat reporters differ from, or are similar to, the frames used by those covering national-scale women’s athletics for national outlets. This will be accomplished by studying coverage of the 2017 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) champion Minnesota Lynx from two outlets in the same local market — the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press — through textual analysis and analyzing the coverage against the backdrop of previous research into the subject, which overwhelmingly focuses on national coverage of women’s athletics. This textual analysis found that many of the same frames found in coverage of male and female athletes exist in a beat reporting setting. However, the reporting analyzed here utilized the frames more stereotypically associated with coverage of men’s athletics in their work covering a women’s professional team. The majority of the coverage in both the Star-Tribune and Pioneer Press centered on the performance of this team and its players, choosing to center their accomplishments, the results of their games, their statistics, their awards and their win-loss record more than any other aspect. Simply put, the bulk of the work done by the four reporters focused on frames that were traditionally associated more stereotypically with male athletes, presenting a more equitable level of coverage than previous research indicated.