Breaking news, more commonly termed late-night news and often referred to as a special reporting or special news bulletin or news report, is a hot topic that many television broadcasters feel warrants their time, interrupting their regular programming to report on it. While some media watchdogs have accused them of using “fake” news to influence the public, others have supported their right to the free press. There are many different forms and outlets for this type of reporting, ranging from traditional print media such as newspapers or television news broadcasts to the Internet, where breaking news stories spread like wildfire in a matter of minutes. The Internet also provides much more flexibility in how the news is reported, with both live and delayed Internet streaming of breaking news stories.
The most well-known venues for the delivery of breaking news are the local stations themselves, which often times feature live interviews and reports along with breaking news reports from other sources throughout the country. In some localities, a newscast will be broadcast live and delay until sometime after the regular news program has gone to air, at least in the case of local coverage. Other networks may air pre-recorded news coverage at designated times, which allows viewers who may be in the middle of something else to catch the breaking news as it unfolds. Other networks and venues that feature breaking news coverage include state and local stations.
A special report can be a feature story on a local level, such as one on new developments in a town or city, a murder case or another breaking news story. A special report can also be a long feature story, such as an op-ed piece written by a local author. A special report can be as detailed as a front-page article in a major newspaper, or as broad as a short History documentary on a local subject. A special report may also be pre-recorded in the form of an Internet video, as is the case with many school videos being distributed on the Internet.
A breaking news feature that features a story of importance often has a limited window of time in which it can be aired. As such, these types of breaking reports are often being delivered to a local audience as quickly as possible, often via an Internet streaming video feed. The nature of such a delivery system makes it difficult for a station to change their delivery timing once the original broadcast has been completed. Any such interruption would render the breaking news feature and the content it was based upon incomplete. Therefore, if a local television station has a breaking news report that has to go to air, they almost always schedule the update during the pre-recorded part of their regular programming, rather than scheduling the feature to air at a time when the rest of the show is already complete.
In a case where a live reporter is reporting on breaking news events, the station may choose to report the live coverage live as well. This way, when the live coverage runs, that particular segment of the network will begin immediately, rather than waiting for the pre-recorded portion of the show to air. Network affiliates must then scramble to find a replacement for the previously recorded segment, and the delayed portion of the breaking news report becomes just one more thing they have to deal with. Even when the affiliate has found a suitable substitute, the pre-recorded segment may still run at a later time, requiring them to scramble to find and replace the live reporter. Again, this increases the amount of disruption to their normal programming schedule.
There is a solution to this problem. Several news outlets have been airing web videos that display live streaming video of the breaking news or other breaking news content. This allows networks to maintain a consistent stream of breaking content that they can deliver to their viewers without disrupting their normal programming. This is an especially attractive option for news outlets that do not wish to lose the audience over to their digital platforms, but who also do not wish to schedule their live shows during normal programming hours, due to space or other constraints.