Broken breaking news: Zoning meeting relocated! Mid-level bureaucrat tasked with middling new responsibilities! Land-use plan available for comment!
I meant to post this four weeks ago based on a Twitter update from Nick Bergus, but I’m only getting around to it today after spotting some particularly silly examples: How embarrassingly mislabeled are so many newspapers’ “breaking news” sections and items?
Most news doesn’t truly “break,” after all, despite the re-branding of some local news and metro departments as “breaking news teams.” So mixed in with headlines of a more credibly breaking nature (“Meteorite impact levels orphanage, causes bus plunge, closes 48 lanes of I-95″) are some of a more, well, pedestrian nature. As always, not to pick on anyone in particular, but to illustrate the breed with a few specimens:
- Draft of Troutdale’s land use plan available for comment
- Sheriff puts training director in charge of jails
- Palm Beach County moves zoning meetings
- Local SPCA needs help with Hurricane Ike animal rescue
- Dolphins have only one turnover, and want to keep it that way
News? Perhaps. Interesting news? Maybe. But breaking news? More like, as Mark Hamilton offered, “the scheduled event is about to begin,” or “stories we happened to have just finished and posted.” Or in all too many cases, if we’re being really, really honest, “stories on which you’ll instantly regret clicking that we almost certainly should not have even bothered writing.”