What is sex journalism or, rather, how does it become? Interviews with news workers on the risk and precarity of a gendered news niche

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journalism, pp. 146488492095226-146488492095226
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Numerous studies have found the reporting of sex is sensationalized and intended to create controversy while journalists have little regard for the topic. Such matters are important given the #MeToo movement has broadened public debate about sexual issues, practices and behaviors. However, there is scant research on the professional identities of journalists who specialize in sex news and the industrial, social and individual-level factors shaping their reportage. Extending an earlier qualitative study comprising interviews with female freelance journalists in North America, Canada, Germany and Australia, this article conceptualizes sex journalism as a specialism in flux and, using the concept of ‘biodigital vulnerability’, argues that sex journalists are exposed to gendered experiences of risk in their news work. The results suggest greater consideration for the professional and gendered identities of sex journalists may improve sex news coverage and optimize sexual health outcomes given the importance of sex news as a public information source.
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