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Reclassifying Soft and Hard News Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  Reclassifying “Soft” and “Hard” News – Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender? Abstract As early as the 1920s, RCA president David Surnoff claimed that of all radio’s tasks, which include the provision of information and national education, entertainment ranks supreme. Several decades later, however, the obliteration of boundaries between entertainment and information was evident. This is also true of radio, which reflects the processes evolving in other media, which, affected as they are by market forces, adopted a profit and competition orientation characteristic of Western mass media as a whole where news and entertainment have become merged. Concurrent with changes in the status of the news – as a ritual, entertainment or the means to satisfy social needs – the Western media experienced a process of feminization. The present study focuses on the contemporary validity of the equation: women = “soft” news; men = “hard” news and the direction of the future development of newsrooms in light of the feminization of the media. In addition, the study examines the question of whether the above dichotomy is affected by gender or is an outcome of the social and cultural factors of change. In this era of obliterated boundaries between news and info- tainment, and between “hard” and “soft” news, a re-categorization of news coverage patterns is warranted.

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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Reclassifying “Soft” and “Hard” News – Culture
Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Abstract
As early as the 1920s, RCA president David Surnoff claimed that of all radio’s tasks,
which include the provision of information and national education, entertainment
ranks supreme. Several decades later, however, the obliteration of boundaries between
entertainment and information was evident. This is also true of radio, which reflects
the processes evolving in other media, which, affected as they are by market forces,
adopted a profit and competition orientation characteristic of Western mass media as a
whole where news and entertainment have become merged. Concurrent with changes
in the status of the news – as a ritual, entertainment or the means to satisfy social
needs – the Western media experienced a process of feminization. The present study
focuses on the contemporary validity of the equation: women = “soft” news; men =
“hard” news and the direction of the future development of newsrooms in light of the
feminization of the media. In addition, the study examines the question of whether the
above dichotomy is affected by gender or is an outcome of the social and cultural
factors of change. In this era of obliterated boundaries between news and info-
tainment, and between “hard” and “soft” news, a re-categorization of news coverage
patterns is warranted.


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