HARD NEWS VS SOFT NEWS
Hard news refers to news content that relates to an event or incident considered to be of general local, regional, national or international significance. There stories are presented uncluttered and without unnecessary detail in order to present the audience with the facts, such that all information presented is of importance to the reader or viewer.
Soft news items are stories that are seen as interesting, entertaining or just plain juicy, and are often used by media programs to inject entertainment into a program to increase audience ratings.
THE ONLINE DIVIDE
Online news platforms format their websites (and/or apps) with specific news temperament in mind – hard news or soft news. By presenting their news content in this format, online news websites and/or apps alienate or dissatisfy readers who aren’t within the companies given target audience.
An example of this is the internet news media company, Buzzfeed, whose primary outsource is viral soft news content. Buzzfeed’s online presence – and even the algorithm that runs in – is centred on the creation replication and development of viral soft news items. Its news media is aimed towards readers through attention grabbing items such as Obama’s Spotify Playlist Is A Clear Sign Of The Illuminati, which aim to inform, entertain and enlighten.
But although Buzzfeed features a range of hard news items, it lacks the in-depth and concise content that draws in hard news readers. News junkies are often left dissatisfied, disappointed and displease by content featured on soft news platforms. And, despite being familiar with subscription fees, they are unwilling to pay for the given online news sites.
In contrast, online news platforms such as ABC, Reuters and The Australian are dedicated to the publication of national and international news stories. These websites present important face and backs those up with details, background and interpretation in order to present the news item in a logical and commanding sequence. This hard news style ensures the audience is informed, educated and advised. However, it often leaves soft news readers over-stimulated and disinterested, and can therefore discourage soft news readers from exploring other news outlets.
Whether intentional or not, there is now an online divide between soft and hard news readers. And it, surprisingly, the divide appeals to all.
The notable separation between soft and hard news platforms has allowed online news outlets to format themselves to suit a specific audience, rather than trying to appeal to the interests of all. This encourages reoccurring visits, subscriptions, interactivity and click-baiting from readers, as they know the news platform is directly catered to suit their news diet.