Used to be that most of the news, except for the oped page and columnists, was about hard facts: politics, wars, airplane crashes, crimes, natural disasters, and business developments.
Nowadays, the news is softer. It’s about childhood trauma and restorative justice, the unaffordability of rent in cities like San Francisco, and the underrepresentation of women, blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans in politics, work, and movies.
The news is more about social, economic, and cultural issues than single occurring events. As a result, it’s more about why than what, and because the medium for media itself has changed, there’s no need for newspapers to produce breaking news. It’s already been broken on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking sites.
Maybe news as we know it – like the daily Oakland Tribune, which will now be a weekly published along with the Contra Costa Times by the Bay Area News Group – will disappear altogether. The brilliance of publisher Arianna Huffington was her prescient launch of the Huffington Post – which is mainly soft news… aside from a blaring header news feed. HuffPost writers care more about why than what, and apparently, so do its readers.
I think Dan Gillmor predicted the populist media movement in We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, but media then was still considered hard news. Now, it’s softer and more thoughtful, with the “reporter’s” bias often out in the open.
I wonder what they are teaching these days in journalism schools.