Demola Rewaju: What exactly is ‘breaking news’?

by Demola Rewaju

Breaking-news

The gossip bloggers really don’t know too: Tunde Ednut with a failed comedy career and a fledging music career, Eniola Badmus with a second-rate acting career, a bountiful body that appears at every social event and a twitter handle is something of a celebrity on some blogs in Nigeria.

I don’t blame the bloggers who do silly stuff like that because it’s not just their fault. In a part of the world where everyone is blogging to make money and rankings on Alexa.com determines how many direct advertisers you get just as AdSense also uses page hits to determine what they give you, bloggers are trying all sorts of crazy ways to make sure their site is the one you click, even if for just a second.

The other problem is that most bloggers (you know I’m talking about the gossip people, right?) are not trained in the fine science of news reportage and for them, anything goes. So it was that one day, a blogger saw a piece of news item probably on Linda Ikeji’s Blog and in copying-and-pasting it decided to include the golden suffix: BREAKING NEWS. It worked actually, because you and I clicked it only to read it and discover that nothing was being broken.

News, by definition is something that has broken. I like to see the word as the plural form of ‘new’ – ‘news’.it’s anything that you don’t know about, brought to your knowledge, it’s the news. So if it’s the news, what exactly is ‘breaking’ about it? Usually when mainstream media people talk about ‘breaking news’, they are reporting a story which full picture they do not have yet, something that is ongoing and therefore hasn’t fully ‘broken’ yet.

Take for instance a shooting incident in a high school. Immediately the news station get eh information as the event is unfolding, they tag it: “breaking news” because it is just unfolding, nobody knows the full story. They keep flashing it as breaking news until the event has ended – either the shooter is shot or arrested or escapes. The news has broken.

Now in Nigeria, the country where we like to think all our problems start from and end with Aso Rock, our online media have given a new definition to ‘breaking news’. For them, it is something that not everybody has heard yet which in actual definition is simply ‘the news’ or ‘the new information’. So on Twitter and Facebook, it is possible these days to see “BREAKING NEWS: BOKO HARAM LEADER, ABUBAKAR SHEKAU, SHOT DEAD” and you want to ask – what exactly is ‘breaking’ about that? That’s news that has broken already: the man has been shot dead already and the army has given all the information it has about the event.

Worse are those pieces of information that have no business being news items: Don Jazzy buys a new car, Tonto Dikeh almost committed suicide, Davido takes a crap and other silly stuff like that. I know it’s what gossip folks do but if you’re going to gossip, at least make it worthwhile. Give us juicy stuff like TMZ.com, tell us how Toni Braxton’s had to perform butt-naked (literally) after a major wardrobe malfunction and stuff like that. Just don’t call it breaking news.

It seems all these gossip guys do these days is follow celebrities on Twitter and instagram and wait till they tweet some info or post a pix on Instagram: BOOM! BREAKING NEWS HAS COME AGAIN. What does it even take to be a celeb these days? The gossip bloggers really don’t know too: Tunde Ednut with a failed comedy career and a fledgling music career, Eniola Badmus with a second-rate acting career, a bountiful body that appears at every social event and a twitter handle is something of a celebrity on some blogs in Nigeria.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just pissed at the fact that gossip bloggers give all bloggers a bad name even though we were around before they even had an email address or I’m upset that they get all the advertisers but really, I enjoy surfing them when I want to know what’s happening on the other side.

I just wish they wouldn’t call everything ‘BREAKING NEWS’.

not-breaking-news

 

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Read this article from Demola’s Blog. Demola Rewaju tweets from @Demolarewaju.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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