Anything Can Happen in Women’s Tennis, or Can It? An Empirical Investigation Into Bias in Sports Journalism

Alice Němcová Tejkalová - Ladislav Kristoufek

The claim that “anything is possible in women’s sports” frequently employed by both sports journalists and general audiences highlights the widespread perception of a seemingly uncontested truth about female athletes and their (in)ability to perform consistently at peak levels in comparison to male athletes. We focus on this treatment of female athletes in the world of women’s tennis and contest the “common sense” and “experience” justifications of the unpredictability in women’s sports with actual data to reveal clear media bias. Utilising a database of the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association tournaments dating back to the late 1960s and covering approximately 225,000 fully described matches, we examine the “anything can happen in women’s tennis” assumption through logistic regression, focusing on the effect of rank differential on the winning probability in the match while controlling for other factors (tournament type and stage, court surface, age differential, and elite players). The results are rather shocking. The women’s matches do not show higher instability or lower predictability at all, but rather the contrary—the men’s matches show lower dependence on the rank difference. The results are robust as checked for data sets of the year 2000 onwards and those including only special events such as Grand Slams.

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Journalistic discourse of freedom: A study of journalists’ understanding of freedom in the Czech Republic and Serbia

Verica Rupar - Alice Němcová Tejkalová - Filip Láb - Sonja Seizova

The idea of freedom plays a strong and important role among journalists in countries that have recently moved to democracy. In this article, we explore the relational nature of freedom and put forward an argument for more clarity in defining its meaning. We examine the values and experiences inscribed in journalistic discourses of freedom assuming that the ways of articulating freedom hold a key for understanding journalism practice. The article revises the question of freedom by focusing on the intersection between political and journalistic fields in two countries that moved from a one-party political system to political pluralism: the Czech Republic and Serbia. It seeks to give a perspective on understanding how concepts of freedom and autonomy work in Czech and Serbian journalistic discourse. The Worlds of Journalism Study’s data on journalists’ perception of political influences were used as a starting point, then a case study analysis of significant clashes between journalistic and political fields in recent years in both countries was applied. In 2014, both Czech and Serbian journalists declared that political factors had small influence on their daily work, but the situation has changed. Our case studies of recent developments in Serbia and the Czech Republic, show a striking discrepancy between what journalists perceive and what they know.

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Bednařík Petr, Jirák Jan, Köpplová Barbara (2019) Dějiny českých médií. Od počátku do současnosti, 2., upravené a doplněné vydání. Praha: Grada.

Kniha přináší chronologický přehled historie českých médií na pozadí světových dějin. Zachycuje sociální a kulturní aspekty proměn tisku, vysílání a síťových médií a hlavní technologické inovace, které se na jejich vývoji podílely. V řadě samostatných medailonků připomíná významné osobnosti, jež jsou s médii neodmyslitelně spjaty.

The book presents a chronological overview of the history of Czech media against the backdrop of world history. It captures the social and cultural aspects of the changes in print, broadcast and network media and the major technological innovations that have contributed to their development. In a number of separate medallions reminiscent of important personalities, which are inherently connected with the media.

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vaia doudaki

Vaia Doudaki and Angeliki Boubouka (2019) Discourses of Legitimation in the News: The Case of the Economic Crisis in Greece. London: Routledge.

Examining the news coverage of the economic crisis in Greece, this book develops a framework for identifying discourses of legitimation of actors, political decisions, and policies in the news. This study departs from the assumption that news is a privileged terrain where discursive struggles (over power) are represented and take place. Incorporating systematic analysis of news texts and journalistic practices, the model contextualises the analysis in its specific socio-political environment and examines legitimising discourse through the prism of the news. Ultimately the book recognises the active role played by journalists and media in legitimating economic crisis related policies and decisions, and how they help dominant actors establish and legitimate their authority, which in turn helps journalists legitimate their own role and authority. A concise, focused book that applies a strong theoretical and methodological framework, Discourse of Legitimation in the News is a strong contribution to the field for researchers and postgraduate students.

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martin štoll

Martin Štoll (2018) Television and Totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia: From the First Democratic Republic to the Fall of Communism. New York: Bloomsbury.

The story of Czechoslovak television is in many respects typical of the cultural and political developments in Central Europe, behind the Iron Curtain. Martin Štoll, with unprecedented access to the Military Historical Archives in Prague, provides contextual insights into the issues of introducing television in the whole Socialist Bloc (save China, Mongolia and Cuba), from the introduction of television broadcasting in Czechoslovakia in 1921 through to the 1968 occupation and the Velvet revolution in 1989 – encapsulating an important point in media history within two totalitarian states. Television and Totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia examines the variability of political interests as reflected on television in interwar Czechoslovakia, including Nazi research on television technology in the Czech borderlands (Sudetenland), the quarrel over the outcomes of this research as war booty with the Red Army, the beginning of the Czechoslovak technological journey, and, finally, the institutionalized foundation of Czechoslovak television, including the first years of its broadcasting as a manifestation of Communist propaganda. Revised and expanded from the Czech to include broader contexts for an English-speaking audience, Štoll expertly elucidates the historical, cultural, social, political, and technological frameworks to provide the first comprehensive study of the subject.

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ulrike notarp

Ulrike Notarp (2018) Lebenskonzepte und Lebensstile in West- und Ostdeutschland, der Tschechischen Republik und Polen. Dresden: Neisse Verlag.

Dieses Buch verdankt sich der Erfahrung, dass Menschen anderer Kulturen oftmals Verhaltens- und Kommunikationsweisen an den Tag legen, die einem seltsam erscheinen und die nur schwer zu verstehen sind. Ein zentrales Anliegen des Bandes ist es, solche kulturbedingten Besonderheiten durch systematische Beschreibung verständlich zu machen. Die Analyse von Kontaktanzeigen aus West- und Ostdeutschland, Tschechien und Polen erlaubte die Rekonstruktion kulturspezifischer Lebens- und Partnerschaftskonzepte sowie Lebensstile, die die Vorstellungen und Wünsche der Menschen im Hinblick auf Leben und Partnerschaft zum Ausdruck bringen. Hinter den Lebenskonzepten und Lebensstilen stehen Überzeugungen und Werthaltungen, die für deren kulturelle Spezifik in besonderem Maße verantwortlich sind.

This book is based on the experience that people from other cultures often show behavioral and communicative behaviors that seem strange and difficult to understand. A central concern of the book is to make such cultural specificities understandable through a systematic description. The analysis of personals from West and East Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland allowed for the reconstruction of the culturally-specific concepts of life and partnership, as well as of the lifestyles that express the ideas and desires of how people see life and partnership. The book argues that behind the life concepts and lifestyles, a set of beliefs and values can be found that are responsible for their cultural specificity.

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Švelch, Jaroslav (2018) Gaming the Iron Curtain. How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia Claimed the Medium of Computer Games. Cambridge: MIT Press.

How amateur programmers in 1980s Czechoslovakia discovered games as a medium, using them not only for entertainment but also as a means of self-expression. Aside from the exceptional history of Tetris, very little is known about gaming culture behind the Iron Curtain. But despite the scarcity of home computers and the absence of hardware and software markets, Czechoslovakia hosted a remarkably active DIY microcomputer scene in the 1980s, producing more than two hundred games that were by turns creative, inventive, and politically subversive. In Gaming the Iron Curtain, Jaroslav Švelch offers the first social history of gaming and game design in 1980s Czechoslovakia, and the first book-length treatment of computer gaming in any country of the Soviet bloc.

Švelch describes how amateur programmers in 1980s Czechoslovakia discovered games as a medium, using them not only for entertainment but also as a means of self-expression. Sheltered in state-supported computer clubs, local programmers fashioned games into a medium of expression that, unlike television or the press, was neither regulated nor censored. In the final years of Communist rule, Czechoslovak programmers were among the first in the world to make activist games about current political events, anticipating trends observed decades later in independent or experimental titles. Drawing from extensive interviews as well as political, economic, and social history, Gaming the Iron Curtain tells a compelling tale of gaming the system, introducing us to individuals who used their ingenuity to be active, be creative, and be heard.

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nico carpentier

Nico Carpentier (2017) The Discursive-Material Knot: Cyprus in Conflict and Community Media Participation. New York: Peter Lang.

The theoretical framework of the discursive-material knot consists out of a non-hierarchical ontology of the interactions of the discursive and the material, articulating the assemblages that are driven by this ontological setting as restless and contingent, sometimes incessantly changing shapes and sometimes being deeply sedimented. This book acknowledges the importance of discourse studies, in having produced a better understanding of the socio-political role of frameworks of intelligibility, and of materialism theory in highlighting the importance of the agentic role of materials. Still, the combination of the discursive and the material requires our attention in a much more fundamental way; that is where this book’s first platform aims to provide a contribution. These ontological-theoretical reflections are not produced in a void, but they are put to work in this book, first in platform two, which consists of a discursive-material re-reading of three theoretical fields, dealing with practices that are all highly relevant in contemporary democracies: participation, community media and conflict (transformation). Finally, in the third platform, this book turns its attention to a particular social reality, analyzing the logic of the discursive-material knot in the particular context of the Cyprus Problem. This case study fills a gap by bringing community media and conflict transformation together, through the analysis of the role of the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), and its webradio MYCYradio, in contributing to the transformation of antagonism into agonism. Deploying a discursive-material analysis to study the participation and agonization (and their articulation) in CCMC/MYCYradio shows the complexity and richness of conflict transformation processes, in combination with the importance of organizations such as CCMC/MYCYradio for the betterment of society.

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