You know, because I am in the Journalism school day in and day out despite my complete ignorance on the subject, I have come to grow fond of journalists. I am surrounded every day by notepad-wielding soldiers of the army of the written word. I guess more than anything, I respect them and their abilities of talking to complete strangers. Maybe if I could do that, I would be rolling in the ladies. Journalists are admirable, to be sure.
But I have also developed a pet peeve regarding the field. It used to be that when you would watch the news and something of great importance happened, they would cut away to an anchor who would tell us all about the “breaking news.”
Now, though, it seems that they have completely bastardized the phrase. Now, I can watch CNN for an hour in the morning and everything they’ve got for me is all of a sudden “breaking news.”
That group of elementary school children stacking cups for charity? “Breaking news.”
That lost dog from Florida that showed up in Canada a la Homeward Bound? “Breaking news.”
The Kansas City Royals suck? “Breaking news.” I think you get the point.
See, back when breaking news was rare and actually meant something, it was like a little treat during an otherwise bland and unexciting newscast. Now, however, they throw the term around like it’s a vowel, for God’s sake. Personally, I think that the term “breaking news” should have to meet three requirements:
First, someone’s gotta die. Yes, it is a sad reality, but when the news flips up “breaking news” about Sarah Palin adopting a polar bear or whatever it is she does, my heart flutters and then sinks. “Breaking news?” That’s hardly news!
Second, the newsworthy event has to be able to occur instantaneously or within a very short period of time. “Breaking news” that is merely an update on a developing story isn’t news. It’s a clarification of a prior news item and therefore terribly boring and lame.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the event must not happen often. Listen, I don’t want a barrage of “breaking news” at all hours of the day. I think that “breaking news” should be limited to once a month at least. “Oh, the President of Mexico was killed by a flock of albatrosses? Sorry, we used our opportunity up last week. I knew we shouldn’t have run that story on packing peanuts!”
Maybe my cynicism is what’s kept me out of the major.comment (0)