Soft news defined by Bainbridge, Goc and Tynan (2015) as news, which has low priority on the scale of news value, usually includes topics such as sport, lifestyle or celebrity fashions. It is the exact opposite of Hard news, which can be defined as encompassing topics such as politics, crime, and disasters (Bainbridge et al., 2015). Going by these definitions, one could say that Hard news is more important than Soft news, because Hard news informs citizens on issues, which influence their choices on a democratic scale (Bainbridge et al., 2015). Whereas Soft news, as entertaining as it is, really only does that.. entertain.
Let’s take a look at an example of Hard news in Australia and compare it with an example of Soft news.
In Melbourne earlier this year a man deliberately drove a car into pedestrians in Bourke Street Mall killing four (ABC 2017). The incident caused panic and influenced the way people felt in their own city, in which they should have been able to feel safe. This is an example of Hard news because it is a matter of crime, which can influence laws and also directly affects citizens.
Soft news on the other hand is generally a lot more light-hearted and can take the edge off an upsetting day, like the day in Melbourne, and can cheer up its audience with positive thoughts and new ideas. Other times Soft news can simply be there to answer those awkward questions:
Is your poo normal?
Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2015). Media and Journalism: New approaches to theory and practice (3rd ed.). Australia: Oxford University Press.
Noonan, A., & Chalkley-Rhoden, S. (2017). ABC News. Melbourne Car Incident: Four dead, man arrested after pedestrians hit in Bourke Street Mall. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-20/car-hits-several-pedestrians-in-melbournes-cbd/8197876
Photo Antique. (Photograph). (No Date). Online Journalism Blog. Retrieved from https://onlinejournalismblog.com/2014/09/10/research-news-consumption-sharing-searching-liking-watching-reading-listening/