Science & Tech

Soft news and critical journalism eroding audiences

1 min read

Report also sees soft news weakening democracy

A rise in soft news and critical journalism “may now be hastening the decline in news audiences” and “weakening the foundation of democracy by diminishing the public’s information about public affairs and its interest in politics,” according to a Harvard study. The study, conducted by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, included an analysis of changes in news coverage during the 1980s and 1990s. “Over the long run, soft news is shrinking the numbers of viewers and readers, especially because those who prefer hard news are much heavier consumers of news,” said Thomas E. Patterson, the author of the study’s report, “Doing Well and Doing Good,” and Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press. “And negative coverage of politics and government is having an impact on Americans’ attachment to politics, which further erodes their interest in learning about it through the news.”