Soft lead in a News story

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February 19, 2016 – 02:26 am
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Infotainment is a neologistic portmanteau of information and entertainment, referring to a type of media which provides a combination of information and entertainment. The term can also refer to the hardware/software products and systems which are built into, or can be added to vehicles in order to enhance driver and/or passenger experience. According to many dictionaries infotainment is always television, and the term is "mainly disapproving." However, many self-described infotainment websites exist, which provide a variety of functions and services, many of which include the several increasingly popular social media websites and applications being used daily by billions of users worldwide.

Criticism[edit]

The label "infotainment" is emblematic of concern and criticism that journalism is devolving from a medium which conveys serious information about issues affecting public interest, into a form of entertainment which happens to have fresh "facts" in the mix. The criteria by which reporters and editors judge news value - whether something is worth putting on the front page, the bottom of the hour, or is worth commenting on at all - are integral parts of this debate. Some blame the media for this perceived phenomenon, for failing to live up to ideals of civic journalistic responsibility, while others blame the commercial nature of many media organizations, the need for higher ratings, combined with a preference among the public for feel-good content and "unimportant" topics like celebrity gossip or sports. In a critique of infotainment, Bonnie Anderson of News Flash cited 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.

A specialization process has also occurred, beginning with the rise of mass market special-interest magazines, moving into broadcast with the advent of cable television, and continuing into new media, like the Internet and satellite radio. An increasing number of media outlets are available to the public which exclusively focus on a single topic such as current events, home improvement, history, movies, women and Christianity. Consumers have a broad choice whether they receive a general feed of the most "important" information of the day or a highly customized presentation of a single type of content. Highly customized content streams may not be considered newsworthy nor contain a neutral point of view. Some publications and channels have found a sizable audience in the "niche" of featuring hard news.

Controversy has continued over the size of the audience and whether outlets are diluting content with too much "soft" news. The distinction between journalists and anchors versus reporters are "human interest", personality, or celebrity news story pieces.Soft news reporters and stories are typically directed by marketing share departments based on a demographic appeal and audience share. It is commonly accepted news anchors are also media personalities which may also be considered celebrities. Media outlets commonly use on-air personalities for their public appeal to promote the network's investments similar to the regular broadcast schedule including self-promotion and advertising. Critics might go so far as to view anchors as a weak link, representing the misplacement of both the credit and the accountability of a news journalism organization—hence adding to a perceived erosion of journalistic standards throughout the news business. (See yellow journalism.)

Most infotainment television programs on networks and broadcast cable only contain general information on the subjects they cover and should not be considered to be formal learning or instruction. An example of a broadcast may include accusations of a celebrity or other individual committing a crime with no verifiable factual support or evidence of such claims. It can be said that many viewers and social critics disapprove of how media, particularly TV and cable, seem to hurtle from one event to another, often dwelling on trivial, celebrity-driven content As seen with the commodification celebrities and public figures/leaders, news media is more frequently commodifying and selling the stories of people’s lives for pure viewer reaction and entertainment, as opposed to more focus being placed on real stories with informative meaning behind them.

Source: en.wikipedia.org
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