Hard Versus Soft News

While the terms hard and soft news are somewhat loaded, they represent the extreme ends of a continuum of standards in news value. Broadly speaking, most news stories can be separated into two types: the immediate and serious, and the less immediate and often less serious. Of course, there are nuances within each category, and the terms hard and soft, as well as serious and less serious, carry with them a wealth of value judgments about the legitimacy of journalistic efforts in relation to various subjects.

Hard news is the embodiment of the “watchdog” or observational role of journalism. Typically, hard news includes coverage of political, economic, or military significance, or social issues with political, economic, or military implications (such as crime coverage and stories about ...

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