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Reclassifying Soft and Hard News Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  (Van Zoonen, 1998). In the US, the USA Today daily assumed a television-like format: Stories became shorter, design became image-centered while colorful illustrations and diagrams supplemented the text (Postman, 2000). Possibly, the Canadian cable TV network, Naked News, offers the crudest reflection to date of the fusion of news and entertainment. 9 The newscasts which include extensive coverage of foreign affairs are presented by anchorwomen who take their clothes off during the report, until they are completely naked at the end. In Israel, alongside changes in the map of Israeli media and the increasing number of stations which have commenced operation since the 1990s, the previous strong emphasis on news magazines and current affairs has also made way for lighter entertainment on news stations (Katz and Haz, 1995). Larger doses of sensational stories, scandals, personality profiles, provocations and pop also became evident, even in political interviews (ibid). Although “IDF Radio” and “The Voice of Israel” are not privately owned radio stations, they also are compelled - as are their public radio counterparts elsewhere in the Western world - to adopt behavioral patterns of content which characterize broadcasts in the private sector, to ensure their survival in the competitive multi-channel world. As one editor from “The Voice of Israel” noted, “there are confrontations and a kind of talk show evolves on the air because that’s entertaining, it’s interesting and it’s what people want” (personal interview 11.2.01). The growing infotainment trend may also provide at least a partial explanation for the discrepancy between the declared attitudes and perceptions reflected in survey results, and the findings of the content analysis. One result of the increasing obliteration between news and entertainment - both in the print and electronic press – is the practical changes in the classic criteria for the classification and ranking of news. The “events map” (Lippman, 1965:227), which presents media consumers with the picture of reality, is also changing and now contains an increasing number of “soft” topics which are perceived to promote the economic interests of media owners. This corresponds to shifts in conventional patterns forming a single unity of customs and routines (Schudson, 1982). There is already evidence that this trend in itself may be mediated by various events, as illustrated by the impact of the 9/11 terror attack on media contents in the US. 9 Available on-line: Http:/nakednews.com.

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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(Van Zoonen, 1998). In the US, the USA Today daily assumed a television-like
format: Stories became shorter, design became image-centered while colorful
illustrations and diagrams supplemented the text (Postman, 2000).
Possibly, the Canadian cable TV network, Naked News, offers the crudest reflection
to date of the fusion of news and entertainment.
9
The newscasts which include
extensive coverage of foreign affairs are presented by anchorwomen who take their
clothes off during the report, until they are completely naked at the end.
In Israel, alongside changes in the map of Israeli media and the increasing number of
stations which have commenced operation since the 1990s, the previous strong
emphasis on news magazines and current affairs has also made way for lighter
entertainment on news stations (Katz and Haz, 1995). Larger doses of sensational
stories, scandals, personality profiles, provocations and pop also became evident, even
in political interviews (ibid). Although “IDF Radio” and “The Voice of Israel” are not
privately owned radio stations, they also are compelled - as are their public radio
counterparts elsewhere in the Western world - to adopt behavioral patterns of content
which characterize broadcasts in the private sector, to ensure their survival in the
competitive multi-channel world. As one editor from “The Voice of Israel” noted,
“there are confrontations and a kind of talk show evolves on the air because that’s
entertaining, it’s interesting and it’s what people want” (personal interview 11.2.01).
The growing infotainment trend may also provide at least a partial explanation for the
discrepancy between the declared attitudes and perceptions reflected in survey results,
and the findings of the content analysis. One result of the increasing obliteration
between news and entertainment - both in the print and electronic press – is the
practical changes in the classic criteria for the classification and ranking of news. The
“events map” (Lippman, 1965:227), which presents media consumers with the picture
of reality, is also changing and now contains an increasing number of “soft” topics
which are perceived to promote the economic interests of media owners. This
corresponds to shifts in conventional patterns forming a single unity of customs and
routines (Schudson, 1982).
There is already evidence that this trend in itself may be mediated by various events,
as illustrated by the impact of the 9/11 terror attack on media contents in the US.
9
Available on-line: Http:/nakednews.com.


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