Cricketer Phillip Hughes died after being struck by a ball in a match, triggering a rare example of commemorative journalism of an Australian athlete in his prime. This case study explores the perceptions of print and online cricket journalists who covered the story, providing an analysis of how their emotions influenced their reporting of an event they were professionally and personally involved in. Employing this approach differs from the dominant focus of examining content in commemorative journalism scholarship. The circumstances of the Hughes story created an unfamiliar environment for cricket journalists, who had to deal with their own emotions while being messengers to audiences in Australia, and across the world. The impact of social media also altered the direction of aspects of the coverage through the Twitter hashtag #putoutyourbats. To examine elements of this commemorative journalism example, in-depth interviews were conducted with 11 Australian cricket journalists. The results reflect the respondents’ difficulties in covering the story, their usage of emotion in their work, and their perceptions of social media’s influence.
Communication and Sport / Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.95-109