Trying younger generations gain political knowledge and insight,

Trying to engage millennials in participating in and being informed of political issues through hard news seems to be one of the hardest forms of engagement in comparison to soft news outlets (Onusko 138). Many studies have shown that there are generational differences when it comes to news and entertainment habits and this influences the political information these generations are exposed to (Onusko 139). Explored within this paper will be the differences between hard news and soft news and how these different forms of information seeking can differ by generation and one’s ability to gain political knowledge. As well as both forms and their impact on coding theory and reading responses of audiences. However, the paper by Onusko further explores soft news and the impact on millenials and the decline of voting during the 2008 Canadian Election. Soft news is in fact the the most influential way that younger generations gain political knowledge and insight, however, ways in which individuals read this information differs and one’s willingness to vote is influenced by the tone and messages portrayed by political parties (Onusko). It is important to first describe and better understand the differences between hard and soft forms of news and their links to Stuart Hall’s coding theory. Hard news includes media forms such as newspapers, magazines, and cable television that tend to report news high in political news, major issues, or natural disasters that is important for the world (Onusko 139; Reinemann et al. 224). Soft news on the other hand involves entertainment and news forms that turn away from serious world reports, political news, and usually involves parody and satire (Onusko 139). I do agree with Onusko and researchers findings that younger viewers tend to absorb political information through soft media sources, such as Saturday Night Live (SNL) and The Daily Show (139). This could in part be due to younger generations lack of interest in politics as a whole, as well as not wanting to participate in the heavy subject matter that hard news materials may provide.  Much debate is seen in regard to these soft media outlets and whether or not shows such as SNL and The Daily Show still provides younger audiences with the political information they need in order to make informed decisions when voting in an election (Onusko 139). I believe that these outlets are a good starting point for younger viewers to become aware of political issues in any current climate, however, depending on the individual and their interest level, one may also turn to hard news forms for their political information. For myself, I tend to use hard news forms to gain political information, but also soft news outlets as well. Coding theory plays an important part on how audiences read and form meaning in regard to hard and soft news forms (Onusko 139).There are two forms that are important for audiences: negotiated reading and oppositional reading (Onusko 140). Negotiated reading, the most common form for reading political information, involves questioning and disagreeing with certain viewpoints, while also accepting others (Onusko 140). While oppositional reading includes completely disagreeing one’s viewpoint on a subject and not adopting those beliefs (Onusko 140). Hard news outlets, such as The Rick Mercer Report, requires audiences to have some form of background knowledge in order for viewers to be able to understand the parodies and satirical forms of political news displays (Onusko 140). Since most readers are negotiated ones, which I agree to some extent, however, I also believe that some millennials are also oppositional readers when it comes to certain political stances and bodies of beliefs. For instance and for the most part, most millenials identify themselves as liberals and may completely disagree with political stances and beliefs, and issues made by other conservative or traditional parties. Particularly, this report analysis The Rick Mercer Report, however, I will be commenting more so on the “get off the couch and vote” rant, as well as the child advertisement for each political party (Onusko 143-145). Both episodes seamlessly correspond and blend into to one another. On one hand, Rick Mercer encourages his younger audiences to take time out of their lazy days and to go out and vote, however, he also later airs an advertisement representing the political parties of Canada in a childish light (Onusko 144-145). If parties are not providing viewers with any important material regarding political issues that millennials care about, and instead act in a childish way to one another (Onusko 144-145), then why would these viewers want to get off of their couches and vote?  Overall, soft and hard news mediums play an important role in gaining political knowledge, especially soft news, which is heavily utilized for younger generations (Onusko 138). Coding theory in this regard also helps us to understand ways in which most viewers read political texts (Onusko 139). In regard to The Rick Mercer Report, which is analyzed in this paper, the rhetoric pertaining to youths lack of voting in the 2008 election, and his parody toward federal political parties of Canada, demonstrates reasons for a lack of civic participation within a younger demographic (Onusko 143-145).