Throughout this early period in this subject I have learnt the core properties needed to be a research ethnographer. The idea of choosing a media niche was daunting, however, since choosing a topic which I enjoy and having planned out my research, my field site and problematising my niche, I have learnt so much about ethnography.
To end the blog posts part of this semester I must identify the key readings which helped myself collect background research for my niche. Furthermore, I will also locate ethical considerations involved in my research and talk about how I will choose to manage them.
To help narrow down my niche or ‘problematise’ it, I focused on the comparison between the EPL and the A-League. This includes media-based aspects such as how the EPL is marketed compared to the A-League and how both are documented through journalistic outputs.
Firstly, it was interesting to analyse a book written by Henry Jenkins called ‘Fans, bloggers and gamers’, which focused on the convergent nature of fan culture and sports. He emphasises the impact that media has had in converging within the world of sports. New technologies have enabled an average fan to ‘archive, annotate, appropriate and recirculate media’ in their own personalised style (Jenkins, 2006). This concept circles back to why I picked this niche, for my career aspirations to become a journalist.
Firstly, Australian football (or soccer) is the most participated of the four Australian football codes (Rugby League, AFL, Rugby Union) yet is the fourth ranked in popularity and attendance. This is based on its media attention, salaries and revenue generation out of the four total codes. The A-League is growing and must continue to grow linking ‘soccer’ with its multicultural community gained through its ethnic origins (Skinner, 2008).
Switching from a competition which is in its growth stage to a fully grown financial beast in the world of football, the EPL. I insisted to find out why the English league was so big and came across a book which emphasised looking at the EPL as a business. Every club is a brand which have created their own fan culture and market themselves in their own personalised way (Goldblatt, 2015). This fan culture as well as the financial significance of the EPL displays the league as the richest in the world.
My duty of care as an ethnographic researcher is to follow, step by step, the ethics procedure which involves my chosen topic. Researching the EPL and collecting data will not inflict any emotional harm which is the 1st step in the ethics procedure.
However, I must emphasise care as an important step in the procedure as it is my duty of care to be respectful and be upfront and honest about my research. I must inform my participants of the research I plan to conduct which involves the ‘participant information package’ as a guide. Another principal is allowance for participants to be anonymous. But as said in the lecture it will be tough in the digital landscape to fully confirm the anonymity of the participants. Furthermore, I as the research ethnographer must ask participants and negotiate the confidentiality of the data, hoping to grasp as much of the key data possible to be collected.