Breaking news: impact, importance and meaning
What does “breaking news” mean?
Breaking news has appeared as a way to broadcast news relatively recent. The initial concept as well as its inner meaning supposes that information has enough importance to break the current news transmission in order to make it available to the public.
At the same time breaking news significance includes the novelty feature. Generally, an information regarding an event which took place a couple a days ago can be considered breaking news only if it refers to something really important for the readers, the listeners or the viewers.
How are breaking news chosen?
Experienced and known media channels (newspapers, digital newspapers, television, radio) have hired specialists who have the required skills to select breaking news from current events. They use theoretical knowledge as well as their personal experience. Aside from objective and tested criteria, a subjective factor – the intuition of the specialist – is very important. Experience is the main source of intuition and inspiration, seconded by passion and talent.
What criteria should a news event meet to be considered breaking news?
The first criteria for considering a news event breaking news is the way information is ranked in the values and needs system of the public.
There are current news that mean nothing to a certain category of people, but the same news can influence the decision or even the life of other persons. There are also current news with an international impact that are definitely breaking news.
Generally during breaking news there is no time for commercials, the news need to reach the public as soon and as broadly as possible.
The second characteristic of breaking news is novelty.
It takes a maximum of one hour from the beginning of the event until the news channels start broadcasting it. The news channels may invite professional analysts to comment on the subject of the news.
Breaking news have a relative accuracy which depends on the developing story. A good news channel checks the information and waits to transmit it well documented. The novelty characteristic makes breaking news ephemeral. It cannot be considered breaking news the next day if no relevant or conclusive information is added.
Continuity is another characteristic of breaking news.
The detailed presentation of an event cannot be ended before the situation comes to a conclusion.
How important and relevant are breaking news for the public?
There are several factors involved:
- proximity – where is the event happening;
- uniqueness – how unusual is the event;
- audience – how many people may be interested in the event;
There are cases when breaking news would not attract attention if it was presented as current news. The hype made by the news channels, the way the presentation is made, full of shocking or exciting images influence the public perception. However, every person is able to choose and sometimes an event showed as breaking news has a minor impact while an event presented as current news has a greater impact.
Choosing the appropriate event to be broadcasted as breaking news requires responsibility, professionalism and talent.