newszak
(NOO.zak) n. A television program containing mostly fluff pieces and gossip (especially from the entertainment industry), but formatted to resemble a news broadcast.

Example Citation:
Instant access to information at all hours of the day could fill elevators and waiting rooms with 'newszak' that numbs the brain.
—Diane Brady, "The Clocks ahead Will Have Our Own Faces," Business Week, August 30, 1999

Earliest Citation:
Transmitted by satellite to 128 stations, the flashy, staccato-paced 'Entertainment Tonight' has become the most popular new non-network show on television. It is the latest example of a growing trend in television to use a news format for an essentially entertainment program, an amalgam that has been characterized in the industry as 'newszak.'
—Sally Bedell, "'Entertainment Tonight, Television's 'Newszak'," The New York Times, January 18, 1983

Notes:
This word is a clever combination of news and muzak, the bland, inoffensive music piped in to stores, elevators, and other public spaces. (The strong association between muzak and elevators has led to a synonym: elevator music.) Muzak (originally a proprietary name) entered the language in the late 1930s and is thought to be a blend of music and Kodak (although the relationship between the two escapes me).

Newszak's first print appearance came in 1983 (although an editor from the OED claims the term first appeared in 1968 in a Malcolm Muggeridge citation).

Related Words:

Category: