Skip to Content

English Federation of Disability Sport: Achieving Positive and Representative News

Perceptions of how disabled people in sport should be reported in the media

To produce the Media Research Report, EFDS commissioned ComRes, who spoke to disabled people, non-disabled people and sports journalists from local, national and specialist outlets. As well as benchmarking media’s current portrayal of disabled people in sport, it assesses opinions on disability sport news. The key findings show:

  • The way the media reports on disabled people in sport has a societal impact and has wider effects on people’s perceptions of disability.
  • Despite the notable improvement in reporting since London 2012, disabled and non-disabled people want to see more disability sport coverage and parity with non-disabled people in sport.
  • There needs to be long-term efforts to improve the media coverage in-between Paralympic years to have a lasting impact for all disabled people in sport. While this is a high profile year for disability sport, there is an opportunity to shape coverage beyond the Paralympics.
  • Journalists and sports providers need more support and guidance on appropriate reporting.


For journalists and news providers, there were some key messages:

  • A number of groups can contribute to improving media coverage of disability sport and play an active role. They include journalists, news providers, National Governing Bodies of sport, sports clubs and ambassadors.
  • Priorities should be to:
  1. Focus on achievement rather than disability
  2. Avoid overly using terms such as “inspirational”
  3. Clearly explain classification systems, recognising disability, but not dwelling on it
  4. Use higher quality images, especially for local events.


The accompanying Guide supports journalists and sports providers to produce news content on disabled people in sport. It explores six areas- tailoring content, story type, style and placement, language, media formats and ambassadors.

Date Published: 31st August 2016

Categories: GB | Media | Opinion Formers | Public and communities | Public Sector | Social | UK

Client: English Federation of Disability Sport


ComRes conducted face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews and an online community to speak to three audiences:

  • Disabled adults: 30 in depth interviews, between 12th May and 22nd June 2016
  • Non-disabled adults: 20 participants in an online community, between 16th and 23rd May 2016
  • Sports journalists: 12 in depth interviews, between 13th June and 19th July 2016
  1. 15549-EFDS-Sports-Journalists-Media-Guide_FINAL -0 KB.
  2. EFDS_Media-Research_July2016_Report_FINAL_for-publication -0 KB.

View Press and Polls

Read More