8.5.08

Breaking News

When you think about it, the usage of that phrase by TV channels is so wrong.

What is it supposed to imply? That the news is being broken? No? Oh, so the news story is breaking? But even that doesn't make sense. News doesn't break - it happens, it evolves, it is. And news stories are (taking place, developing, being discovered).

Or is the news trying to "break out (from the confines of secrecy)"? Tchah. That's just stupid.

Maybe it's journalistic license for "breaking the news (to you)". But that's even worse. You deliver the news, you bring people news, you tell them news, you pass on the news. How does breaking come into the picture?

Or is it supposed to mean "breaking up the news into digestible bits of information"? That makes some sense - but only if used in personal conversation ("I slowly broke the news about his father's death after he had settled down"). That meaning is quite unrelated to the "Breaking News" or "a story that's just breaking" that gets flashed across our screens.

So just why has this phrase become the norm?

That said, the alternatives aren't any better.
"Happening News"? Sounds like a pseduo attempt to gain hip-hop popularity.
"This Just In"? Sounds so....archaic.
"Fresh News"? Makes it sound like it's woken up, gone for a jog, had a long shower, and is now ready to face the world*.

Maybe they should just go "Alert! Alert! Alert!".


* Although, the Hindi alternative is strangely appealing. Taaza khabar. Such zing. But even there, quite a few Hindi news channels flash the words "Breaking News" in the vernacular. Doofuses.

12 comments:

lekhni said...

"Latest News" is quite good enough for me..or perhaps, "Hot News", which is so new it is still warm to the touch..

km said...

I broke an egg this morning. Now that's breaking news.

Space Bar said...

km: nah! if the egg broke you that would be (breaking) news.

Puppy Manohar said...

Dear ??!,

Several lame puns present themselves:

1) If the news were about a style of dance, would it be called "breaking" news?

2) If the news were about Shane Warne's bowling, would it be called "breaking" news.

3) If the news were about a vehicle failing to stop in a timely manner, thereby causing damage to life and property, would it be called "breaking" news (or "braking" news lol rofl etc.) ?

I think the reason it is called "breaking" news is that the information being presented is deemed so important that regular programming is interrupted or "broken" to present it.

Thanks,

Puppy Manohar

Falstaff said...

Personally, I've always imagined the news as a kind of wave - an event that's been building up for days and days and you happen to catch it just as it's breaking.

Of course, it would make much more sense if you came across this while you were surfing the web.

??! said...

Space:
If the egg broke km, that would be breaking olds (solllly unkel-ji, maarna nahin!)

Puppy/falstaff:
Now those two explanations really make sense. Thanks for that.

IdeaSmith said...

LOL, I so wish I were witty enough to add to this banter. Since I'm not, I'll just say...what fun! Khee khee khee...

Tabula Rasa said...

no no, it's called breaking news since what passes for news is really just hot air.

??! said...

smithy:
you should come more often, it's always Nutty Punny Town around here.

TR:
Eggzhackly.

km said...

Space bar: But since I am all Zen and all, it's not the egg that's broken, it's my mind.

Why, never tasted scrambled brains?

Shyam said...

I love the expression "taaza khabar" - nothing in English equals it. Brings to mind breakfast with fresh fruit and juice and nice brown buttered toast! :D

If it's not taaza, we dont want it!

??! said...

Shyam:
Isn't it just? It just sounds so...crisp.