Asking Athletes - Exploring the Types of Questions Asked in Sports Press Conferences


Sports press conferences are an understudied site for exploring the relationship between sports journalists and athletes. This study seeks to create a typology for the types of questions sports journalists ask in U.S. college sports press conferences as well as explore the differences that exist in questions based on the athlete. This study focuses on four major college football programs and examines the pre- and post-game press conferences for each for an entire season. The study examines these press conferences (n=44) to identity and categorize the types of questions the sports journalists ask athletes. In addition to looking at question topic, this study also seeks to explore whether the type of questions asked differ for players based on race or position. This author coded the questions into broad categories based on the topic, which resulted in the development of 11 specific topics divided into three groups: questions concerning physical aspects of the sport, mental aspects of the sport, and a miscellaneous category for personal or otherwise off-topic questions not related to the sport. This study creates a typology for question topics in sports press conferences. The findings suggest that significant statistical differences exist between the types of questions journalists ask to college football players based on their race or position. This research extends previous scholarship on questioning practices in journalism by focusing on sports and exploring how journalists might ask different questions based on identity of the source.


Vincent Peña
Assistant Professor, College of Communication, DePaul University, Illinois, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Media Marketing and Identity


Sports, Journalism, Press Conferences, Identity, Questions

Digital Media


Asking Athletes Exploring The Types Of Questions Asked In Sports Press Conferences