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Reclassifying “Soft” and “Hard” News – Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  In the era of infotainment, the borders between news and entertainment become blurry, as do the boundaries between “hard” and “soft” news. This requires a re- categorization of patterns and attributes of news coverage. The events of September 11 th only serve to illustrate the problematic involved in the definitions of “soft” and “hard”: Does the story of a young woman searching for her fianc , missing in the WTC, count as “soft” or “hard” story? Do changes in the patterns of leisure activities of New York residents in wake of the attack, count as a “hard” or “soft” news story? Are the psychological problems experienced by survivors a “hard” or “soft” story? The need for a re-classification of news is relevant to all the areas of our lives. In communications, and especially in the news, such a re-classification carries unique importance. This step – the formation and consolidation of which goes beyond the scope of the present paper – not only has the potential to remove existing traditional gender-based barriers but also may enable both gender to be equal and active partners in the formation of patterns of practice and mark the beginning of a new era in mass media with regard to the definition of news and how they are handled . References Acker, J. (1990) “Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: a Theory of Gendered Organizations”. Gender & Society, 4(2): 139-157. Beasley, M. (1993) “Newspapers - Is There a New Majority Defining the News?”. In P. Creedon (ed.) Women in Mass Communication, pp. 118-134. Newbury Park: Sage. Covert, C. L. (1981). “Journalism History and Women's Experience: A Problem in Conceptual Change”. Journalism History, 8, 2-6. Cronkite, W. (1996). A Reporter’s Life. New York: Knopf. Darnton. R. (1975). “Writing News and Telling Stories”. Deadalus, 104, 2 (Spring), 175-193. Elliott, P. (1977). Media Organizations and Occupations – an Overview”. In: Curran, J. M. Gurevitch & J. Woollacott (eds.), Mass Communication and Society (pp. 142-173). London: Edward Arnold. Galtung, J. & Ruge, M. (1973). “Structuring and Selecting News”. In: Cohen, S. & J. Young (eds.), The Manufacture of News (pp. 62-67). London: Sage Publishing. [1960]. Gamson, W. A. (1989). News as framing: Comments on Graber”. American Behavioral Scientist, 33, 157-161.

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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In the era of infotainment, the borders between news and entertainment become
blurry, as do the boundaries between “hard” and “soft” news. This requires a re-
categorization of patterns and attributes of news coverage. The events of September
11
th
only serve to illustrate the problematic involved in the definitions of “soft” and
“hard”: Does the story of a young woman searching for her fianc , missing in the
WTC, count as “soft” or “hard” story? Do changes in the patterns of leisure activities
of New York residents in wake of the attack, count as a “hard” or “soft” news story?
Are the psychological problems experienced by survivors a “hard” or “soft” story?
The need for a re-classification of news is relevant to all the areas of our lives. In
communications, and especially in the news, such a re-classification carries unique
importance. This step – the formation and consolidation of which goes beyond the
scope of the present paper – not only has the potential to remove existing traditional
gender-based barriers but also may enable both gender to be equal and active partners
in the formation of patterns of practice and mark the beginning of a new era in mass
media with regard to the definition of news and how they are handled
.
References
Acker, J. (1990) “Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: a Theory of Gendered Organizations”. Gender &
Society
, 4(2): 139-157.

Beasley, M. (1993) “Newspapers - Is There a New Majority Defining the News?”. In P.
Creedon (ed.) Women in Mass Communication, pp. 118-134. Newbury Park: Sage.

Covert, C. L. (1981). “Journalism History and Women's Experience: A Problem in
Conceptual Change”. Journalism History, 8, 2-6.

Cronkite, W. (1996). A Reporter’s Life. New York: Knopf.

Darnton. R. (1975). “Writing News and Telling Stories”. Deadalus, 104, 2 (Spring), 175-193.

Elliott, P. (1977). Media Organizations and Occupations – an Overview”. In: Curran, J. M.
Gurevitch & J. Woollacott (eds.), Mass Communication and Society (pp. 142-173). London:
Edward Arnold.

Galtung, J. & Ruge, M. (1973). “Structuring and Selecting News”. In: Cohen, S. & J. Young
(eds.), The Manufacture of News (pp. 62-67). London: Sage Publishing. [1960].

Gamson, W. A. (1989). News as framing: Comments on Graber”. American Behavioral
Scientist
, 33, 157-161.


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