Today’s question ‘Does breaking news really exist anymore?’ seems a bit simple to me – of course it does!
Human beings are, by our very nature, inquisitive; we want to know what is happening to the people and world around us, and as the pace of society grows ever quicker we want these stories faster than ever before.
The introduction and subsequent popularity of social media means that news travels around the globe within minutes; something traditional news channels have had to adapt to, and fast! But the fact that people hear news via these mediums rather than ‘traditional’ ones does not mean that breaking news no longer exists, it just breaks in a different fashion.
500 years ago people may have learned stories through word of mouth, letters and travelling minstrels, the introduction of the printing press meant people could then interact with news through daily and weekly papers, then came the ‘we interrupt this broadcast’ era of TV and radio…now you might read a tweet or receive a push notification from a news app. As the world around us changes and adapts so do we, but no matter how the story is revealed, I would argue it is still breaking news.
If I consider the big news stories of the past 5 years I’m almost sure I discovered all of them through twitter…the death of Michael Jackson, the election of the new Pope, birth of Prince George, the London riots, Felix Baumgartner jumping from space…twitter broke them all. Of course I haven’t owned a TV since 2011, rarely read newspapers or websites and only listen to the radio when commuting but I’m still more likely to jump on twitter and ask people about something before I check a news site. That last point is, imo, key…I will check the news sites. Many would argue that until a reputable source confirms what social media are saying it’s mere speculation, and that while word of mouth or social media may break the news you need to visit a specific news channel to gain the full story in accurate detail. This is one thing which news providers have had to adapt to the increased speed of things – how embarrassing to have the whole country talking about a story only to visit the BBC and find no information. But in addition to the race against the speed of the masses, social media has, I’m sure, aided breaking news as well. Providers now have instant access to those who are there on the scene, their readership are able to interact with them, offer opinions and evidence which back up or dispute their facts and you also gain access to people who may not interact with your other services. I now have the BBC news app on my phone after following a link through twitter prompted me to get it, for example.
I’ve gone off on a slight tangent considering my answer was initially so simple, but to come back to the point…yes, breaking news still exists, and will always exist as long as people are curious and nosey. It’s human nature, simple as that!