The effect of hosting the Olympics on national image: An analysis of US newspaper coverage of host countries with reputation problems

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Yao, Jiajun
Iowa State University
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thesis / dissertation description
Does hosting the Olympic games boost the image of a country from a problematic to a more positive one? This study examines how three American newspapers covered four Olympics host countries whose reputations, based on historical records, have come into question. Newspaper articles published before and after the games were analyzed in terms of visibility, valence and the overarching framework of news stories. The findings suggest that the host countries received less attention from the US press after the games. The results also showed a decline in the negative coverage of the four host countries after the games, accompanied by a rise in stories with a more positive slant. The politics frame dominated the coverage across the four Olympiad before and after the games. The findings suggest that the Olympics can indeed be harnessed as a tool with which to repair a host country’s image in the world community.