Breaking news, more commonly known as late-breaking news segment, is generally a subject that broadcasters feel needs the immediate intrusion of late-night programming or on-air news so as to relay its latest details. Often, breaking news is associated with some kind of sensational event-such as the murder of a high-ranking government official or an explosion at a shopping mall. The nature of such breaking news segments demands that the information be promptly reported because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter and the need to maintain public security. The urgency of breaking news segments makes it difficult for news agencies to keep their sources confidential, which often leads to legal complications for both the broadcasting station and the news organization. When these problems are addressed, viewers can have access to breaking news more rapidly and easily than ever before.
Broadcasting from local stations has long been considered the best source of breaking news for local residents. However, in recent years the increasing popularity of television has led to a rapid increase in the number of national news affiliates appearing on local channels. In addition to the increased number of affiliates, there has also been a dramatic increase in the number of cable or satellite stations that have expanded their networks into the digital realm, thereby creating a more diversified customer base for local television stations. The result is that viewers who would have bypassed local news in favor of national and international stories have instead opted for local coverage when they switch television providers.
A typical late-breaking special report may include a local story about a car accident in the central United States, or about new plans for a local facility being built. It could even include a story on a natural disaster in the state of Michigan that has impacted a town near where the event occurred. These kinds of breaking news segments require the reporting of specific details within a short period of time-usually within 24 hours of the occurrence.
Many people assume that the only times local television stations broadcast these kinds of reports is when something major happens in the region. But this is simply not the case. Local news stations throughout the country are frequently involved in live broadcasts that connect them with their audience. A prime example of this is when a fire destroys a home in California, while it is still smoldering in the early morning hours in another part of the state. Both the coverage of the event itself, as well as the updates on the fire company’s website, are featured in the breaking report later that day on various local stations.
Other types of breaking news stories can be broadcast in the middle of the night, or any other random time. One example is when a major news story breaks regarding the possible breakup of a relationship. These kinds of stories are covered extensively by various networks and news outlets, but the coverage itself can come in the form of a segment that appears on one of the many popular daytime talk shows. This is commonly referred to as “retellation,” and can come in the form of an hourlong program that begins after the nightly news. This is typically scheduled programming that will feature local reporters that will discuss the breaking news as it breaks.
All of the aforementioned examples are examples of breaking coverage. They differ from general entertainment coverage in that they are often quite timely and often have some sort of political slant to them. The breaking news format has appeared in a number of different forms throughout the history of television, and while it appears to be flourishing currently, it was always considered a relatively new medium. As such, it can be difficult for networks and news outlets to make sure that their content is both newsworthy and appropriate for broadcast. But as technology continues to advance and more news outlets begin to include breaking reports in their programming, the trend is expected to continue to grow in popularity.