A new league, new coverage? Comparing tweets and media coverage from the first season of AFLW Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent research has indicated that coverage of women’s sport has become less trivialised and sexualised, compared to historical coverage. This article uses the inaugural season of the AFL Women’s (AFLW) League in 2017 to explore this concept in both media and Twitter framing. It found that most media coverage and tweets were likely to discuss the AFLW as sport, focusing on match previews and reviews. However, there was evidence that women may still be treated differently to men, as the AFLW players who received the most media coverage also had significant off-field stories that were always mentioned alongside their on-field performance. Analysis of the tweets found that more were focused on the cultural change impact of AFLW. This was further exaggerated when looking at the most shared tweets, which were overwhelmingly focused on the socio-cultural impact of AFLW. This study indicates then that women’s sport is continuing to be normalised as part of regular sports reporting, but also that social media did not necessarily share the same frames as media when discussing AFLW. In an increasingly fragmented media environment, this has implications for media’s agenda-building function.

publication date

  • 2019