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Reclassifying “Soft” and “Hard” News – Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  women experience. In fact, this is an illustration which provides evidence of how women, “alive and kicking” cope with professional norms as well as systemic requirements. This conflict has many facets and is influenced by many variables, the elements of which are beyond the scope of the present discussion. On one hand, the process of feminization brought more women to the space of discourse and ostensibly enabled them to express their interests and the norms and values which guide them (Kanter, 1977). On the other hand, defined dictates of new practice and rules of packaging in news production are inconsistent with, and sometimes contradict, the added value which women sought to impart to public discourse. And, on yet another hand, the system of rules and dictates is itself undergoing a process of change and regeneration. For women, unlike men who have a tradition of their profession, any change, especially one which returns them to “feminine” uses (narrative reports, and reportage at the expense of in-depth interpretations) evokes memories of former positions (“pink ghettos”, “soft columns”) and intensifies the conflicts and deliberations concerning their jobs, their mode of work and their desire to “become part of the gang.” The entry of women into positions structured by men may create a situation which forces them to cope with pressures arising from their very womanhood. Kanter (1977) reports that women managers worked especially hard to maintain their reputation of excellence. They become masculine (West & Zimmerman, 1987), adopt masculine style and norms which are considered more professional and accepted and which mitigate their ascription to feminine categories. Women tend to adhere rigorously to the rules which support their hard-won authority. This type of behavior, says Kanter, is typical of managers who are insecure about the support their system affords them. They feel they cannot afford to bend the rules. Such a pattern positions them as technocrats, upholders of the rules. In contrast, men accept the change and adopt the new trend because for them, this is a professional trend dictated by time and, as such, calls for compliance. The change occurs naturally, based on organizational interests. From the height of their secure and well-established position, backed by years of tradition, male professionals are used to such changes. Male editors find it easy to continue according to the new directives of

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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women experience. In fact, this is an illustration which provides evidence of how
women, “alive and kicking” cope with professional norms as well as systemic
requirements. This conflict has many facets and is influenced by many variables, the
elements of which are beyond the scope of the present discussion. On one hand, the
process of feminization brought more women to the space of discourse and ostensibly
enabled them to express their interests and the norms and values which guide them
(Kanter, 1977). On the other hand, defined dictates of new practice and rules of
packaging in news production are inconsistent with, and sometimes contradict, the
added value which women sought to impart to public discourse. And, on yet another
hand, the system of rules and dictates is itself undergoing a process of change and
regeneration. For women, unlike men who have a tradition of their profession, any
change, especially one which returns them to “feminine” uses (narrative reports, and
reportage at the expense of in-depth interpretations) evokes memories of former
positions (“pink ghettos”, “soft columns”) and intensifies the conflicts and
deliberations concerning their jobs, their mode of work and their desire to “become
part of the gang.”
The entry of women into positions structured by men may create a situation which
forces them to cope with pressures arising from their very womanhood. Kanter (1977)
reports that women managers worked especially hard to maintain their reputation of
excellence. They become masculine (West & Zimmerman, 1987), adopt masculine
style and norms which are considered more professional and accepted and which
mitigate their ascription to feminine categories. Women tend to adhere rigorously to
the rules which support their hard-won authority. This type of behavior, says Kanter,
is typical of managers who are insecure about the support their system affords them.
They feel they cannot afford to bend the rules. Such a pattern positions them as
technocrats, upholders of the rules.
In contrast, men accept the change and adopt the new trend because for them, this is a
professional trend dictated by time and, as such, calls for compliance. The change
occurs naturally, based on organizational interests. From the height of their secure and
well-established position, backed by years of tradition, male professionals are used to
such changes. Male editors find it easy to continue according to the new directives of


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