Breaking news, interchangeably nicknamed late-breaking news or simply known as special reports or special news and with the shortened form of news, is an issue which often warrants the suspension of normal news or broadcasted information in order to report it. Why? Simply because this type of breaking news is normally very important to the public and media, thus, requires immediate reporting upon. The news is often very upsetting to the public and the media, and therefore, breaking news is a top priority for most media outlets. But why is this?
Most people would readily think that the purpose of a daily or weekly news show or news program is simply to inform the general public, especially the public with regard to matters concerning the daily life and concerns. This is why, the typical local stations provide a significant amount of coverage on local events, newscasts, weather, sports, technology, education, crime, and legal affairs. Similarly, national networks often provide coverage of breaking news for large portions of the day, including the major networks like CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. Moreover, the major national morning talk shows also provide a wide-variety of programming in order to keep their audience informed about everything that happens around the world. Thus, when a newscast is provided on a local or national level, there are several different types of audiences that will be comprised of:
First, there is the general public. These are the people who listen to and watch the news. Often times, they are simply not concerned about the breaking news and, therefore, do not react to it the way some of the major media outlets are hoping that they would. However, a good example of this would be when a person hears about a newscast about a car accident and then watches or reads the article to see if the event has been covered by a television station. Even though this may be considered common, this type of coverage is incredibly important and is not given nearly enough coverage.
Second, there is the audience that is provided by the media. This audience typically consists of members and guests of the editorial staff of various news publications and/or radio and television stations. When a breaking news story breaks, they are typically notified about the breaking news broadcast via an automated alert or an email immediately after the broadcast. In addition, when a scheduled programming interruption occurs, they will receive a text message or an email regarding the interruption.
Finally, there are the viewers who are watching or listening to the broadcast live. Breaking news can be extremely vital to the lives of many people, especially those who are following a story and live in the immediate area. Therefore, they must be kept informed through various means. Some of the methods of keeping up with breaking news include: watching the news whenever it is aired or reruns are shown, tuning into various channels that provide coverage of the event, reading newspaper or magazine articles that feature the event, keeping tabs on local dailies, keeping watch on various web feeds of local coverage, checking email for the latest updates, and bookmarking various blogs and websites. There are also those who turn to television to catch the first few minutes of any breaking news story that occurs. Although this method of getting the news is fast becoming outdated, it remains important to those who are watching.
In essence, breaking news events provide an enormous source of information for those who are closely following the day-to-day events. Breaking news events often lead to major coverage of the issues and as such, the station may find itself under fire for withholding this type of information. While the station may have the best overall content and a strong opinion on the issue at hand, it is not always safe or advisable to share this type of information unless it has been confirmed. In some cases, a station may find itself being forced to make special reports in the evening after a major news event has happened and there is no other source of information readily available for the evening.