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Reclassifying Soft and Hard News Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  system and allows them to act according to its needs and requirements which are fundamentally consistent with a feminine worldview, the repression of which is no longer necessary. Research literature as well as anecdotal evidence indicate that the ‘legitimization” of and concern with “soft” topics and their very integration with “hard” news topics on an equal status, provided women with an entrance to news production and a platform for professional advancement. In other words, there was a certain change in the belief that women journalists, and the personal stories they tell and recount, are only marginally relevant to the rationale-masculine practice of journalism (Covert, 1981). However, as the media becomes more extensively engaged in “feminine” issues and “soft” news, reflected multiple viewpoints in coverage, an interesting paradox emerged: - women, “trustees” of values of coordination, harmony, belonging and community (Covert, 1981) are the very ones which cling to the traditional hierarchy of newsworthiness, thus in fact speak out against their own basic attitudes. Men, on the other hand, were found to be more open to change as they demonstrated greater flexibility to the adoption of evolving values. This paradox is also reflected in the editorial page of the Israeli daily, Ha’Aretz: Women journalists tend to write in a more “masculine” tone while male journalists embrace a more “feminine” voice (Luzzatto and Jacobson, 2000). The explanation to this paradox lies in the significant role of gender in structuring and establishing the identity women. The distinction between men and women, a product of social construction (Acker, 1990), impinges on women’s behavior in this situation as well. In other words, women reject the new norms of the news because of the professional-value veneer ascribed a priori to women as well as the previous roles they filled in media organizations. The infotainment trend, as it coincides with the feminization of the media, heightens the inconsonant situation women who wish to attain professional success in the news environment and assimilate a normative professional identity. In contrast, men, whose professional identity is clearly defined and based on many years of tradition, easily accept the system’s changing requirements. The above discrepancy between declarations (survey and in-depth interview results) and media products (content analysis) is only one element in the array of conflicts

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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system and allows them to act according to its needs and requirements which are
fundamentally consistent with a feminine worldview, the repression of which is no
longer necessary. Research literature as well as anecdotal evidence indicate that the
‘legitimization” of and concern with “soft” topics and their very integration with
“hard” news topics on an equal status, provided women with an entrance to news
production and a platform for professional advancement. In other words, there was a
certain change in the belief that women journalists, and the personal stories they tell
and recount, are only marginally relevant to the rationale-masculine practice of
journalism (Covert, 1981).
However, as the media becomes more extensively engaged in “feminine” issues and
“soft” news, reflected multiple viewpoints in coverage, an interesting paradox
emerged: - women, “trustees” of values of coordination, harmony, belonging and
community (Covert, 1981) are the very ones which cling to the traditional hierarchy
of newsworthiness, thus in fact speak out against their own basic attitudes. Men, on
the other hand, were found to be more open to change as they demonstrated greater
flexibility to the adoption of evolving values. This paradox is also reflected in the
editorial page of the Israeli daily, Ha’Aretz: Women journalists tend to write in a
more “masculine” tone while male journalists embrace a more “feminine” voice
(Luzzatto and Jacobson, 2000).
The explanation to this paradox lies in the significant role of gender in structuring and
establishing the identity women. The distinction between men and women, a product
of social construction (Acker, 1990), impinges on women’s behavior in this situation
as well. In other words, women reject the new norms of the news because of the
professional-value veneer ascribed a priori to women as well as the previous roles
they filled in media organizations. The infotainment trend, as it coincides with the
feminization of the media, heightens the inconsonant situation women who wish to
attain professional success in the news environment and assimilate a normative
professional identity. In contrast, men, whose professional identity is clearly defined
and based on many years of tradition, easily accept the system’s changing
requirements.
The above discrepancy between declarations (survey and in-depth interview results)
and media products (content analysis) is only one element in the array of conflicts


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