A Faustian Contract? When a Sports Star’s Media Coverage Goes Bad

By Cathy Jenkins.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Belsey (1992:85) wrote that those seeking publicity cannot claim the protection of privacy when the publicity goes sour and they “…discover the negative side of the Faustian contract …” A prominent sporting figure who has recently seen both sides of that contract is international golfing star Tiger Woods, who has had to deal with ongoing sensational media coverage of his personal life.

This paper examines the coverage of Woods and how his attempts to keep his personal life out of the public gaze might have further impacted on his public image, and his relationships with the media and with sponsors. It argues that these attempts to delay the confirmation and even the publication of the media stories may have done further damage to his image. The paper also examines the tension between a sporting personality’s need for publicity and their desire to keep their private life private.

Keywords: Crisis Management, Sports Journalism, Sports Media, Public Relations, Privacy, Tiger Woods

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.229-236. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 592.316KB).

Dr. Cathy Jenkins

Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cathy worked as a radio journalist for 16 years, including five years as Sports Editor for a Brisbane radio station where she covered local, national and international sporting events. Cathy moved full-time into university teaching in 1998 and is now a Senior Lecturer in Journalism in the School of Humanities, and Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Griffith University. Her teaching areas include sports journalism, broadcast journalism and news reporting, and she has supervised student volunteers in the press centres of the 2001 Goodwill Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Cathy’s research interests include media ethics, journalism history and media coverage of female politicians.