I grew up with hard news. On the television. 6 pm and 10 pm. That’s when you found out what was going on. News has changed. It’s now a 24-hour cycle of some hard news mixed with “infotainment” or “soft news” and plain gossip. And, as I saw in the case of CNN, infomercials.
Infotainment can generally be identified by its entertaining nature. Infotainment may also involve the use of flashy graphics, fast-paced editing, music, sensationalism, and sometimes satire to catch the viewer/readers’ attention.
Difference between hard news and soft news:
Wilbur Schramm was one of the first to describe a dichotomy between types of news in relation to human consumption. He separated news into a delayed reward class (including news of public affairs, economic matters, social problems, science, education and health), which closely resembles hard news, and an immediate reward class (including news of crime/corruption, accidents and disasters, sports, social events, and human interest) which closely resembles infotainment/soft news.
Here is where news hinges on gossip:
An infotainment broadcast may frame accusations of a celebrity or other individual committing a crime as a reality, with no verifiable factual support or evidence of such claims.
What is gossip?
Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
Here is an example of hard and soft news mixed. The soft news received top billing.
… A CNN lead story on February 2, 2004 following the exposure of Janet Jackson’s breast on national television. The follow-up story was about a ricin chemical attack on then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
I just checked CNN. Here’s a top story, a headliner, you don’t even have to scroll down:
Yet, there is absolutely nothing on CNN’s front page about the rising tensions between Russia and the US over Ukraine. I did a search on “Putin” and “Russia” and came up empty. Certainly nothing about PFAS and microplastics. I don’t know where to get my news anymore.