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Reclassifying “Soft” and “Hard” News – Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  Apparently, terror attacks revolutionized editing patterns and decisions involving emphases on news programs, resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of newscasts broadcast by the nationā€™s three leading networks. This is indicated by results of a study conducted as part of a program to promote excellency in journalism, under the auspices of PEW, pointing to a colossal change in direction in the priorities of news editors at CBS, NBC and ABC networks since September 11. Study findings also determined that since the 1970s, focus on news has never been so focal a part of network news as they have since September 11 th . For example, 80 out of 10 daily newscasts focus on issues of national or international significance, reflecting a 67% increase compared to the previous summer. The report also states that since the terror attacks, reports involving lifestyle and celebrities have almost disappeared, after having previously capturing almost 25% of summer broadcasts (Shamir, 2001). Another explanation of the discrepancy found relates to the temporal situated ness of the data. The content analysis was based on programs which covered an entire decade of broadcasts, from 1988 to 1998, while the survey was conducted at a later point in time (1997-1999). While content analysis results constitute an ā€˜average reflectionā€™ of an entire decade, the survey is a reflection of reality at a single point in time, a reality characterized by an awareness of changing organizational needs. Therefore, we have no way of knowing if the statements expressed by the survey respondent reflect a genuine change in attitude. If they do, we can expect to discover its reflections in media products themselves. Alternatively, survey results may constitute no more than lip service to current dictates of ā€œpolitical correctnessā€. In any case, this issue justifies a follow-up study in the future. The Evolving Media: Creating Opportunities and Conflicts One implication of the infotainment trend, identified with ā€œfeminineā€ values and norms is that media products are evolving in this direction, it is important not to confuse cause and effect. This development is not a result of the impact of women on the nature of news ā€“ it is a product of an audience-oriented commercial vision. The changing emphases in the news are grounded in the desire to appeal to audience tastes and desires: Many areas and issues which are perceived to be ā€œappealingā€ are classified, perhaps not incidentally, as ā€œfeminineā€ topics. This new reality, in which a commercial orientation lends a ā€œfeminineā€ bias in values of newsworthiness, facilitates the participation of women into the news production

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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Apparently, terror attacks revolutionized editing patterns and decisions involving
emphases on news programs, resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of
newscasts broadcast by the nationā€™s three leading networks. This is indicated by
results of a study conducted as part of a program to promote excellency in journalism,
under the auspices of PEW, pointing to a colossal change in direction in the priorities
of news editors at CBS, NBC and ABC networks since September 11. Study findings
also determined that since the 1970s, focus on news has never been so focal a part of
network news as they have since September 11
th
. For example, 80 out of 10 daily
newscasts focus on issues of national or international significance, reflecting a 67%
increase compared to the previous summer. The report also states that since the terror
attacks, reports involving lifestyle and celebrities have almost disappeared, after
having previously capturing almost 25% of summer broadcasts (Shamir, 2001).
Another explanation of the discrepancy found relates to the temporal situated ness of
the data. The content analysis was based on programs which covered an entire decade
of broadcasts, from 1988 to 1998, while the survey was conducted at a later point in
time (1997-1999). While content analysis results constitute an ā€˜average reflectionā€™ of
an entire decade, the survey is a reflection of reality at a single point in time, a reality
characterized by an awareness of changing organizational needs. Therefore, we have
no way of knowing if the statements expressed by the survey respondent reflect a
genuine change in attitude. If they do, we can expect to discover its reflections in
media products themselves. Alternatively, survey results may constitute no more than
lip service to current dictates of ā€œpolitical correctnessā€. In any case, this issue justifies
a follow-up study in the future.
The Evolving Media: Creating Opportunities and Conflicts
One implication of the infotainment trend, identified with ā€œfeminineā€ values and
norms is that media products are evolving in this direction, it is important not to
confuse cause and effect. This development is not a result of the impact of women on
the nature of news ā€“ it is a product of an audience-oriented commercial vision. The
changing emphases in the news are grounded in the desire to appeal to audience tastes
and desires: Many areas and issues which are perceived to be ā€œappealingā€ are
classified, perhaps not incidentally, as ā€œfeminineā€ topics.
This new reality, in which a commercial orientation lends a ā€œfeminineā€ bias in values
of newsworthiness, facilitates the participation of women into the news production


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