Media Narratives about Rio 2016 Paralympics

By: Lyusyena Kirakosyan  

Because media plays a fundamental role in the (re)production of cultural values and social identities, researchers, athletes, and organizers alike consider it an essential tool for publicizing paralympic sport and games. This talk discusses broad themes and issues concerning the underlying assumptions, frames, and patterns in the interviews with journalists who covered the Rio Paralympic Games. The main questions that shape this talk are: What frames did journalists evidence when describing their work to cover Rio Paralympics? Did the interviews indicate any common frames in their journalistic practices? What are the implications of the journalistic framing of Rio Paralympics for power dynamics within the Paralympic sport in Brazil and abroad? The talk starts outlining the central debates in the existing critical literature regarding media representations of disability and disability sport that help situate the later discussion of the media frames as they relate to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Following a brief overview of the study’s methodology, the talk moves to discuss the journalist frames identified in the interviews and the patterns that make up the media narrative about Rio Paralympics. The talk concludes by outlining the potential effects of journalistic framing of Rio Paralympics for the empowerment and inclusion of disabled athletes and disabled people in Brazil.

Media Frames, Power, Narrative, Representation, Rio Paralympics
Media Cultures
Virtual Lightning Talk

Lyusyena Kirakosyan

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Lyusyena Kirakosyan is a Senior Project Associate at the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance and a governance and development consultant for nongovernmental organizations. Since January 2016, she has been a research member of the Brazilian Paralympic Academy that focuses on inquiry into Paralympic sport in Brazil and is formally a part of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.