Breaking news is often accompanied by an ambiguous standard. Depending on the time period and the type of news, the standard for interruption may vary. The term is also commonly used by local news stations to emphasize that their stories are exclusive to their area. It is important to note, however, that not every story that breaks is significant. Rather, the term should be used sparingly. Below are some examples of news events that may be considered breaking.
When a breaking news event happens, a reporter will cut into a regular broadcast to report the details. A network may continue showing a live shot of the anchor as they discuss the story, or a local station may cut away to a video report from a local news station. Depending on the timing of the breaking news, the anchor may remind viewers to visit the network’s website or watch local cable news channels for updates. Breaking news stories are often more difficult to cover, so it is vital to follow a live broadcast and keep up with the latest information.
While many breaking news stories last a few minutes, others may last a few hours or days. For example, the assassination of John F. Kennedy lasted from November 22 to November 26 in 1963, while the September 11 attacks lasted for nearly two weeks. Breaking news may also include analysis from network experts, who may work in a studio, over the phone, or via satellite. During prolonged coverage, regular commercial advertising may be suspended.
The term breaking news is synonymous with news that is urgent and newsworthy. Breaking news is a form of “breaking” news that will grab the attention of audiences and cause them to want to know more about it. Breaking news has become a ubiquitous part of mass media, which is largely due to the Internet. Online news services offer real-time updates on breaking events. However, some scholars worry that the increasing number of such news may lead to the extinction of journalism.
Radio stations also use a breaking news theme in their news stories, similar to the way they do on television. Breaking news themes must have a pronounced urgency and must be reserved for genuine breaking news. Local all-news radio stations rarely use breaking news themes, such as those owned by CBS Radio and Audacy. These stations have purposefully designed their programming in such a way that they are sure to draw attention. The resulting attention may be a good thing.
When breaking news is a major event, network newscasts sometimes pause to allow other network affiliates to join the feed. They also include music to emphasize the significance of breaking news. While watching the breaking news, the anchor introduces the story. Sometimes, the lower thirds of the TV screen are altered to convey a sense of urgency. If a national network newscast does this, a network affiliate may not air the segment in full.