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A conscious neologism of journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, the term newszak was intended to reflect changing news values and news formats evident in print and broadcast journalism across the 1980s and 1990s (Franklin, 1997: 4). The implication was that these changes were for the worse and the resonance with the term muzak is clear.

Newszak allegedly marked: (1) a retreat from investigative journalism and ‘hard’ news to the preferred terrain of ‘softer’ consumer or life style stories; (2) a focus on entertainment rather than information resulting in ‘infotainment’; (3) journalists' preferences for human interest above the public interest; (4) news reports characterized by sensationalism rather than measured judgement; (5) the triumph of the trivial above the weighty which guaranteed that gossip about celebrities from soaps, sport ...

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