The Softening of Journalistic Political Communication: A Comprehensive Framework Model of Sensationalism, Soft News, Infotainment, and Tabloidization

Lukas Otto, Isabella Glogger, Mark Boukes
  • Communication Theory, November 2016, Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • DOI: 10.1111/comt.12102

What is it about?

Despite the scholarly popularity of important developments of political communication, concepts like soft news or infotainment lack conceptual clarity. This article tackles that problem and introduces a multilevel framework model of softening of journalistic political communication, which shows that the 4 most prominent concepts—(a) sensationalism, (b) hard and soft news (HSN), (c) infotainment, and (d) tabloidization, and, additionally, (e) eroding of boundaries of journalism—can be distinguished in a hierarchical model. By softening, we understand a metaconcept representing developments in political journalism that are observed on different levels of investigation, from journalism as a system (macrolevel) down to single media items (microlevel).

Why is it important?

There is a lot of noise in the literature on a) sensationalism, (b) hard and soft news (HSN), (c) infotainment, and (d) tabloidization. This article clarifies and defines these concepts, so future research can be more clear on it.


Dr Mark Boukes
Universiteit van Amsterdam

Finally, some clarity on the concepts of a) sensationalism, (b) hard and soft news (HSN), (c) infotainment, and (d) tabloidization!

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Mark Boukes