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What is "Breaking News?"

I was watching CNN Friday morning while working out and during the newscast, the "Breaking News" logo hit the screen. This breaking news was about the auto bailout and Bush was going to speak at 9AM.

OK, I'm already watching the news which to me is all new information--isn't that the reason why they call it "news" to begin with? So what the heck is breaking news?" And what does the word "breaking" mean anyway? Did someone break a plate? Now if it was "braking" news, then I guess I would stop in my tracks to listen to what the TelePrompTer had to say.

The fact is, we are conditioned. Watching CNN is not enough. We need "breaking news." We need "alerts." We need "code red" at the airports. We need "sirens" to slow down or stop. We need ! when we want to send a "breaking news" email. And when it's really breaking and demands our full attention, there is nothing like the "special report."

I think Seinfeld got it right. We used to watch the news on TV to learn about new stuff. We were relaxed in our chair and looked forward to listening. But now, we got one line going right to left with information and we got another line going left to right with information and it's impossible to read all that and listen at the same time. There is nothing relaxing about watching the news anymore. So to get is out of our stupor, they "break in" and alert us to stop reading and to listen to what they got to say.

I listened to Bush. Was it breaking news? Nope. It was news. Good news indeed. But CNN, Fox and the others will continue to give us breaking news because it elevates our stress levels and we all want to know something that no one else does.

And that my friends, is not breaking news.

Happy Monday!


Adam Harris was born in coal country, right in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. His father, Gregory, worked the mines every day and came home to his best friend, Jim Beam. Gregory had many frie


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