Technical features of “infotainment”, such as montages and camera pans, are present in different types of television news, write Amanda Alencar, of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Sanne Kruikemeier, of University of Amsterdam. The authors compared prime time newscasts on a total of six television channels from Spain, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Two channels, one public and one private, from each country was investigated.
Spanish and Irish TV news use more infotainment features than Dutch, Alencar and Kruikemeier discovered. Infotainment features were found to be present in both public and commercial news in all three countries, with commercial news usually exhibiting higher frequencies of these features. There were also some exceptions, such as the wipe transition, which was in all three countries used only by public broadcasters.
The authors expected to see more infotainment features in “soft” news, such as culture, crime, or sports. No conclusive evidence of this could be found, however. The authors suggest that the binary, topic-based categorization into “soft” or “hard” news may be too crude to distinguish all the factors which assign a news story into a genre and a visual style.
The article “Audiovisual infotainment in European news” was published by the journal Journalism. It is freely available online (open access).
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