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Reclassifying Soft and Hard News Culture Specific Findings or a Reflection of Gender?
Unformatted Document Text:  of the moment and their publication cannot be delayed while “soft” news usually has no dimension of actuality. “Hard” news primarily concerns issues including politics, economics, international relations, welfare and scientific developments, while “soft” news focuses primarily on human interest stories, gossip, etc. (Tuchman, 1973). 3 Limor and Man (1997) note that “hard” news frequently displaces “soft” news which is published based exclusively on space availability in newspapers or when editors use them to balance a proliferation of “hard” items, perhaps as part of an attempt to create a composition in news (Galtung & Ruge, 1973). Twenty years following the publication of her article, Tuchman recounted the reasons which led her to explore the field of news production. Her mode of work, most influenced by “story-telling”, also may owe possible influence to the work of Darnton (1975). This orientation resonates, over a decade later, in guidelines presented by Gamson (1989:175): “think of news as telling stories about the world rather than presenting ‘information’, even thought the stories of course, include factual elements”. Interest in stories and the manner in which they are conveyed led Tuchman to the personal facet of her life by adopting the perspective of a “story teller”. Observations of her extended biological family and the fabric of inter-personal communications among the members of her family generated her awareness of the connection between the past and the present as a foundation for change. Her dissertation focused on news and the question of how journalists, editors, writers and photographers produce the news. Tuchman learned from the American news organizations which she studied in the late 1960s, that storytellers are exclusively male. She called this phenomenon 3 The following studies illustrate uses of traditional classification of “hard” and “soft” news: Zilliacus- Tikkanen, who investigated Scandinavian countries, characterized “soft” news as topics which interested women to a greater degree: children, social politics, personal perspectives, consumerism, education, health and the environment. In the category of “hard” news, she included topics which interest men to a greater degree: politics, administration, the labor market, economics, foreign news, technology, science, crime and security (Zilliacus-Tikkanen 1996, cited in Haworth, 2000). Another study which examined the print press in Israel found that even at the beginning of the twenty first century, women are concentrated in areas of coverage which are perceived as “feminine” and characterized by ‘soft” writing (such as lifestyle, society, education, health, culture, entertainment and politics). In contrast, men are concentrated in areas of coverage were are perceived as “masculine” and characterized by “hard” reporting (such as sports, the military, security, law enforcement and crime, computers and economics) (Lachover, 2000).

Authors: Lavie, Aliza.
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of the moment and their publication cannot be delayed while “soft” news usually has
no dimension of actuality. “Hard” news primarily concerns issues including politics,
economics, international relations, welfare and scientific developments, while “soft”
news focuses primarily on human interest stories, gossip, etc. (Tuchman, 1973).
3
Limor and Man (1997) note that “hard” news frequently displaces “soft” news which
is published based exclusively on space availability in newspapers or when editors use
them to balance a proliferation of “hard” items, perhaps as part of an attempt to create
a composition in news (Galtung & Ruge, 1973).
Twenty years following the publication of her article, Tuchman recounted the reasons
which led her to explore the field of news production. Her mode of work, most
influenced by “story-telling”, also may owe possible influence to the work of Darnton
(1975).
This orientation resonates, over a decade later, in guidelines presented by
Gamson (1989:175): “think of news as telling stories about the world rather than
presenting ‘information’, even thought the stories of course, include factual
elements”.
Interest in stories and the manner in which they are conveyed led Tuchman to the
personal facet of her life by adopting the perspective of a “story teller”. Observations
of her extended biological family and the fabric of inter-personal communications
among the members of her family generated her awareness of the connection between
the past and the present as a foundation for change. Her dissertation focused on news
and the question of how journalists, editors, writers and photographers produce the
news. Tuchman learned from the American news organizations which she studied in
the late 1960s, that storytellers are exclusively male. She called this phenomenon
3
The following studies illustrate uses of traditional classification of “hard” and “soft” news: Zilliacus-
Tikkanen, who investigated Scandinavian countries, characterized “soft” news as topics which
interested women to a greater degree: children, social politics, personal perspectives, consumerism,
education, health and the environment. In the category of “hard” news, she included topics which
interest men to a greater degree: politics, administration, the labor market, economics, foreign news,
technology, science, crime and security (Zilliacus-Tikkanen 1996, cited in Haworth, 2000). Another
study which examined the print press in Israel found that even at the beginning of the twenty first
century, women are concentrated in areas of coverage which are perceived as “feminine” and
characterized by ‘soft” writing (such as lifestyle, society, education, health, culture, entertainment and
politics). In contrast, men are concentrated in areas of coverage were are perceived as “masculine” and
characterized by “hard” reporting (such as sports, the military, security, law enforcement and crime,
computers and economics) (Lachover, 2000).


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