Hard News Vs. Soft News News stories are basically divided into two types: hard news and soft news. Hard new generally refers to up-to-the-minute news and events that are reported immediately, while soft news is background information or human-interest stories. Politics, war, economics and crime used to be considered hard news, while arts, entertainment and lifestyles were considered soft news. Hard news This is the term journalists use to refer to “news of the day. Hard news is a chronicle of current events/incidents and is the most common news style on the front page of your typical newspaper. Hard news gives readers the information they need. If the federal government announces a new youth initiative, it’s hard news the next day. Examples of hard news stories include reports on crime, court cases, government announcements, house fires, awards ceremonies, plane crashes, international events, etc. Hard news reporting uses clean and uncluttered writing.
It may start with a summary lead that describes what happened, where, when, to/by whom, and why (the journalist’s 5 W’s). The lead must be brief and simple, and the purpose of the rest of the story is to elaborate on it. Soft News This is a term for news that is not necessarily time-sensitive. Soft news includes profiles of people, programs, or organizations. Feature stories take a step back from the headlines to explore an issue in depth. Written in the soft news style, they are an effective way to write about complex issues too large for the terse style of a hard news item.
A good feature might be about the people in your community and their struggles, victories and defeats, or maybe about a trip someone took to Africa as a part of a school project. A feature usually focuses on a certain angle, explores it through background research and interviews with the people involved, and then draws conclusions from that information. For an example, look at street kids. A hard news story must clinically report the relevant statistics: how many there are, where they are, and what they’re doing.
It usually relies on a time- sensitive hook – for example, the release of a new study, a demonstration by street youth or the untimely death of a young person on the streets. A feature on street youth is not limited in such a manner. It might be written over a longer period of time, and allows the unique and detailed stories of street kids’ individual lives to be expressed. Hard news is the actual report of what has happened in a simple, clear, and accurate manner.
This type of news story never distorts, misrepresents or gives wrong facts. It draws no conclusions, ,makes no accusations, offers no opinions and does not indulge in any speculations. Hard news are facts and statistics. Soft news is explanatory and opinionated one. It tells about background; draws conclusions, features, editorials and interpretive and investigative news are all soft news. If a fire breaks-out in the city, its news is hard news, but if you go into details about what caused the fire it is soft news.