Breaking news is everywhere you look. From local dailies to the world wide web breaking news channels seem to be a daily fixture for anyone interested in world events. While the headlines might be more interesting than the rest of the day’s headlines, why do they seem to dominate so much of our attention? The obvious answer is that news sells, but is it really that simple? More importantly, is there anything that can be done about it?
Breaking news has always been prevalent, even before television viewers became hooked on the medium. Newspapers and other media outlets have always provided extensive coverage on local events, which makes it easy for people who are unfamiliar with an area to get the word out about something new. As of late, however, the newscast is focusing more on the USA Israeli peace process, with the ninth round of talks currently underway in Astana, Kazakhstan, at the same time as the Hezbollah-Hezbollah war continues in southern Syria. With more coverage on Syria, Egypt, and Iraq coming up through the newscasts, it seems that breaking news outlets are no longer just dedicated to local or major event coverage.
While newspapers often have a good chunk of regular programming and feature stories from time to time, breaking news features stories from all over the spectrum. While this is a growing trend, it still does not fully capture the scope and depth of the changes that have taken place in the media landscape. Major networks and cable news stations have moved their focus entirely towards evening programming that emphasizes entertainment as well as topical reporting and breaking news. This shift has had serious ramifications for local media outlets, especially in the smaller markets that rely heavily on revenue earned through local advertising. Smaller stations have had to change their focus in order to continue providing the type of programming that will keep them in business.
The days of the local news program being strictly a form of community bulletin are rapidly coming to an end. Although some people may still watch local news at night while others read stories online, people from all over are tuning into newscasts in hopes of finding out what is going on across the globe. For small stations trying to make ends meet and provide the type of content that keeps their audiences interested, changing their focus to a larger audience without breaking their budget can be a difficult choice. Even though cable and satellite television stations make up the bulk of viewers in smaller communities, there is money to be made if they can create a show that brings in viewers from all walks of life. There are plenty of ways for small stations to make sure that they stay competitive and effective.
The first step is to find out which types of breaking news will bring in the most viewers. If the audience loves celebrity stories and the thrill of a sensational sports game, they will flock to a local television station that features them. If they need a little bit of information about a local business before making a purchase or learning about a new trend that is becoming popular, they will turn to a website that offers in-depth reporting. When the coverage is full of relevant, interesting facts, it will encourage viewers to stay tuned until the end of the evening. Smaller stations that want to get the most from their coverage need to make sure that they schedule their programs so that the best stories and information are offered to their audience at the appropriate times.
Small news outlets that want to ensure that they get the most bang for their buck have to consider how they are going to make their programs stand out from the rest of the competition. Since many people prefer to just read rather than listen to a story, they are likely to prefer live coverage over delayed replays or replaying news footage in the future. In order for small news outlets to get this type of effect, they need to dedicate a good portion of their planned programming to breaking stories. Once they have covered all of the local, national, and international news that they feel will interest their viewers, they can move on to more interesting material or even reviews of local products and services. These types of stories can be less critical, as well, meaning that people who only see the news in its less obvious forms may not feel inclined to stay tuned past the headlines.