Cable TV News: Touting -- Or Not - 'Breaking News': How About Recent News Or Opinion?

A bold shift in positioning for cable TV network CNN could tone down its blaring effort over those attention-grabbing onscreen banners -- the stuff that says "Breaking News"! 

This is quite understandable. There can be a lot of hype, which can tire long-time viewers. But at the same time, don’t discount news that is indeed big.

Say the U.S. President called up a Secretary of State of a specific southern state asking him to "find" a certain number of votes. Or maybe that the U.S. President demands -- oh so subtly -- that a foreign nation help out with an possible investigation of a current political opponent, otherwise said nation wouldn't get already pre-approved military or other assistance for the U.S.?

This stuff would be big breaking news. In fact, it was.

Still, Chris Licht, the new chairman/chief executive officer of CNN Worldwide, wants to lower the volume -- thus putting some constraints over what is "breaking" news.



To be sure, CNN isn't the only network guilty of this high-level promotional practice. Some might point to MSNBC and Fox News Channel for doing  similar alerts.

At the same time, perhaps CNN’s proposed effort looks to neutralize some nonstop opinion-based content, which all U.S. news networks have surrounded themselves in.

It’s a jungle out there, and weeding of news content -- especially non-confirmed -- can be difficult. The trouble is -- there is a 24-hour/7-day news cycle that just doesn't stop. And not only from cable TV news. There are all kinds of social media news -- factual and not -- to contend with.

If you don't want to let people know about "breaking news," then you’ll need to find a way to sell them on less immediate, less "breaking" news with fewer alarming descriptors.

Should we see more straight-ahead TV anchors and news readers saying, "Here’s some stuff you may already have heard about. You may want to turn off your TV set, switch to another channel, and put your TV set on mute"?

If "breaking news" is firmly attached to a specific time factor, then we need to be clear about when to offer -- and describe -- other news information, maybe "yesterday's" news to some.

And if all this doesn’t work, I look forward to the day a cable TV news network offers up a different kind of banner:

"Breaking... Opinion!"

2 comments about "Cable TV News: Touting -- Or Not - 'Breaking News': How About Recent News Or Opinion?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 6, 2022 at 8:29 a.m.

    Wayne, CNN has overused the cry, "Breaking News", so often for just about anything that it has become a laughing stock in news circles as well as elsewhere. Even the pro- Ukrainian videos one sees on YouTube have picked this up---in an annoyingly absurd manner---using it about every little event---supposed or imaginary. "Breaking news"---it's Monday.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, June 6, 2022 at 7:54 p.m.

    Spot on Wayne.

    The practice has risen here in Australia too (gosh, we can be very un-original at times).   A network will have the afternoon news with "breaking news".   Then at the 6 o'clock news (our news prime-time), they will open with a big splash banner, and the newsreader saying something along the lines of "we will have breaking news after the break".   Yep, you guessed it, then 10 minutes into the bulletin they re-run the afternoon report.   And just to make sure, they re-cap the "breaking news".

    "Breaking .. Opinion" sounds good.   But maybe "Breaking... Bad" might be more appropriate.

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