This post is written in conjunction with the 30 Days of Writing, a blog challenge devised by Nicky and Mike at “We Work For Cheese.” I’ll be participating throughout the month of June. If interested, you can see my post with the details of the challenge.
Please note that some of these posts will be serious, some will be normal, and some will be an attempt at humor. This one has a little of everything.
Maybe it’s because I used to work in the traditional media…
… by that I mean newspapers.
But it seems, all of a sudden, that the world is in excess of newspaper/media terms. Any blogger out there uses these terms extremely loosely and in excess.
Let’s take, for example, the word breaking.
I follow many Twitter accounts. These accounts range from everyday people, bloggers, minor and major league baseball teams, pro wrestling sites, foodie people and many more.
It’s rare, however, that I can go through a day without seeing the word “breaking” in capital letters at the beginning of a tweet. Of course, this tweet leads me to the website which then has breaking news about something.
Here’s the problem — it’s not breaking news.
The news business is extremely competitive. Especially now, when the Internet keeps booming and there are so many online people trying to break things.
I respect this. I really do. Especially as somebody who has worked in the media and as somebody who battled to break actual news. But to see it used so loosely and in excess is maddening.
For example, when a website gets a text message from a major organization or company — one that is blasted to many people, both media, fans and whoever else — and then puts said text on the website without any additional details besides what is in the text — it’s NOT breaking news.
Breaking news means just that — you broke the news. Or, you are at least adding to some breaking news.
That a minor league game got rained out a few days ago has been re-scheduled for a doubleheader down the line is not breaking news. It’s something that you are telling fans.
Breaking news is something that many people will want to see or know about. A re-scheduled game is news of sorts, but not some “holy crap, that’s breaking news!”
The word is used in total excess.
It’s that way with many other journalism terms.
A press conference being called a presser is becoming a term used in total excess as well. The terms such as “lede” and “graph” and things like that are littered all over, too.
I didn’t like a lot of these terms when I worked in journalism. I especially can’t stand them now when people use them so loosely and in excess on their blogs and websites. Just because you use the terms doesn’t necessarily make you some sort of news entity, especially when the content is then littered with errors.
I’m all for citizen journalism. And I’m all for news sites and blogs. After all, I find them helpful and good to read. But breaking news in the news industry is a big deal. Let’s not use those terms in total excess — and save the rest of us from having to roll our eyes and have a deep sigh.
Or reach our breaking point.
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