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Reclassifying “Soft” and “Hard” News – Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  analysis findings provide evidence of its continuing prevalence (see Table 1.1). An explanation of this discrepancy was sought from the perspective of the radio newsroom (compared to the newsrooms of other media), the perspective of gender (the self-reported attitudes of female and male editors) and methodology (comparison of questionnaire and survey to content analysis).Ëś One insight points to the gap between men’s declared attitudes towards “soft” and “hard” news topic coverage, and their actual journalistic practice. Findings indicate that the personal involvement of male professionals in “soft” topic coverage fall below their declared involvement levels. Underlying this complex reality may be, I believe, a host of deeper causes which are anchored in the growing infotainment trend of recent years, as well as changes in the media in general and in electronic media in particular, only one of which is the clear trend toward the increasing coverage of “soft” new topics. To satisfy listeners’ needs to retain audience shares and cope successfully with the fierce competition in the media market, news is currently designed to entertain, rather than focus exclusively on the provision of information (Holland, 1998). Media worldwide are changing in response. “Hard” news interest people while “soft” news is interesting because it deals with people’s lives (Mott, 1952). This explanation from the early 1950s can account for the growing tendency of media in general, radio included, to engage in the human aspects of events to a greater degree, and place a greater emphasis on the “soft” and “feminine” aspects of journalism’s stories. Cronkite explains that the infotainment trend was intensified as part of the US networks’ struggle for survival and competition over shares of an ever-shrinking pie of listeners, viewers and revenues (Cronkite, 1996). 8 Similar statements were voiced during the 1990s, when Disney took control of ABC; Viacom swallowed CBS while the industrial and financial Conglomerate General Electric acquired NBC. At the same time, human-interest stories became the bulk of news and newscasters were forced to modify their serious tone and adopt a more personal and intimate manner. In Holland, television adopted a style of coverage which offered viewers the means for identifying with events and individual, in an attempt to raise the medium’s popularity 8 For example, it was claimed that ABC news professionals (ABS is owned by Disney) feel that they have become the subjects in an entertainment empire which judges news as it judges any other department (Karni, 2001).

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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analysis findings provide evidence of its continuing prevalence (see Table 1.1). An
explanation of this discrepancy was sought from the perspective of the radio
newsroom (compared to the newsrooms of other media), the perspective of gender
(the self-reported attitudes of female and male editors) and methodology
(comparison of questionnaire and survey to content analysis).Ëś
One insight points to the gap between men’s declared attitudes towards “soft” and
“hard” news topic coverage, and their actual journalistic practice. Findings indicate
that the personal involvement of male professionals in “soft” topic coverage fall
below their declared involvement levels. Underlying this complex reality may be, I
believe, a host of deeper causes which are anchored in the growing infotainment trend
of recent years, as well as changes in the media in general and in electronic media in
particular, only one of which is the clear trend toward the increasing coverage of
“soft” new topics.
To satisfy listeners’ needs to retain audience shares and cope successfully with the
fierce competition in the media market, news is currently designed to entertain, rather
than focus exclusively on the provision of information (Holland, 1998). Media
worldwide are changing in response. “Hard” news interest people while “soft” news is
interesting because it deals with people’s lives (Mott, 1952). This explanation from
the early 1950s can account for the growing tendency of media in general, radio
included, to engage in the human aspects of events to a greater degree, and place a
greater emphasis on the “soft” and “feminine” aspects of journalism’s stories.
Cronkite explains that the infotainment trend was intensified as part of the US
networks’ struggle for survival and competition over shares of an ever-shrinking pie
of listeners, viewers and revenues (Cronkite, 1996).
8
Similar statements were voiced
during the 1990s, when Disney took control of ABC; Viacom swallowed CBS while
the industrial and financial Conglomerate General Electric acquired NBC. At the
same time, human-interest stories became the bulk of news and newscasters were
forced to modify their serious tone and adopt a more personal and intimate manner. In
Holland, television adopted a style of coverage which offered viewers the means for
identifying with events and individual, in an attempt to raise the medium’s popularity
8
For example, it was claimed that ABC news professionals (ABS is owned by Disney) feel that they
have become the subjects in an entertainment empire which judges news as it judges any other
department (Karni, 2001).


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