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Reclassifying Soft and Hard News Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  the medium, which comprise one of many links of the continuity of professional practice and is evidence of the profession’s responsiveness to the needs of the hour. Two parallel processes have moderated media products to allow an increasing number of “soft” issues to find their way into products of news magazines and current affairs programs. One process is led by the business-profit orientation of the media which also implicate the operations of public media organizations, even though these, in theory at least, should be free from the effect of market pressures. The feminization of the newsrooms is a second process which contributes to an expanding scope of news coverage as items are handled and presented in directions identified with “soft” news topics 10 . Although the result of both processes is the same – i.e., more “soft’ news – each of these processes is motivated (at least in the current stage of development) by different motives and genders: Men lead the introduction of “soft” news based on a commercial viewpoint while women “soften” the news based on completely different considerations. Which side makes a greater impact on the change? It is till too early to provide a definite answer. It may emerge that men cause a significant breaking out of boundaries, perhaps because they themselves feel unbound by the existing game rules. Although a feminine “signpost” pointing in the direction of “softer” news is already evident, the obstructions are still standing and it is possible that women, who have yet to feel secure in their status among their “professional fellows”, prefer a “slow crawl” rather than a revolutionary change in the desired direction. Summary: Have the Traditional Equations Dissipated? As we noted above, one of the classic insights regarding the functioning of men and women in journalistic practice is that men prefer to consume and produce “hard” news while women tend more to “soft” news. The argument of the present study is that the boundaries between “soft” and “hard” and the underlying traditional gender based distinction, are not as clear-cut or unmistakable as may ostensibly appear. The fascinating question is whether the findings of the present study should be perceived as a marker for the beginning of a process which will ultimately nullify the traditional equation of men=”hard” news - women=”soft” news, in the selection and classification of news, or, perhaps, should they be viewed as merely a temporary, 10 A discussion of the effect of gender on news coverage is beyond the scope of the present paper.

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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the medium, which comprise one of many links of the continuity of professional
practice and is evidence of the profession’s responsiveness to the needs of the hour.
Two parallel processes have moderated media products to allow an increasing number
of “soft” issues to find their way into products of news magazines and current affairs
programs. One process is led by the business-profit orientation of the media which
also implicate the operations of public media organizations, even though these, in
theory at least, should be free from the effect of market pressures. The feminization of
the newsrooms is a second process which contributes to an expanding scope of news
coverage as items are handled and presented in directions identified with “soft” news
topics
10
. Although the result of both processes is the same – i.e., more “soft’ news –
each of these processes is motivated (at least in the current stage of development) by
different motives and genders: Men lead the introduction of “soft” news based on a
commercial viewpoint while women “soften” the news based on completely different
considerations. Which side makes a greater impact on the change? It is till too early to
provide a definite answer. It may emerge that men cause a significant breaking out of
boundaries, perhaps because they themselves feel unbound by the existing game rules.
Although a feminine “signpost” pointing in the direction of “softer” news is already
evident, the obstructions are still standing and it is possible that women, who have yet
to feel secure in their status among their “professional fellows”, prefer a “slow crawl”
rather than a revolutionary change in the desired direction.
Summary: Have the Traditional Equations Dissipated?
As we noted above, one of the classic insights regarding the functioning of men and
women in journalistic practice is that men prefer to consume and produce “hard”
news while women tend more to “soft” news. The argument of the present study is
that the boundaries between “soft” and “hard” and the underlying traditional gender
based distinction, are not as clear-cut or unmistakable as may ostensibly appear. The
fascinating question is whether the findings of the present study should be perceived
as a marker for the beginning of a process which will ultimately nullify the traditional
equation of men=”hard” news - women=”soft” news, in the selection and
classification of news, or, perhaps, should they be viewed as merely a temporary,
10
A discussion of the effect of gender on news coverage is beyond the scope of the present paper.


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