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March 16, 2018 8:42 am  #1

Breaking News! 1010 is breaking the breaking news rule.

I've noticed it before, but now Newstalk 1010's love of interrupting the regular broadcast to announce "Breaking News!" has reached a new level of... what's the best word... silly... annoying... overused..

On Friday's show, just three minutes before the top of the hour and the 9:00am news and regular traffic report, the station broke into the roundtable discussion with "Breaking News!" the usual fanfare intro, and the news was, wait for it, a traffic report. A dumptruck had stalled, and some lanes of traffic had been shut down. That was it. No fiery crash. No multiple vehicle collision. Nope, nothing earth shattering. Important? Yes. But certainly nothing that warranted interrupting regular broadcasting with the regular traffic report only minutes away.

This has been going on for a few weeks on 1010. The breaking news intro, and then... nothing major, only something simple like an update on the alleged serial killer case. These announcements feel like that Monty Python sketch when John Cleese turns to the camera and says, "When suddenly, nothing happened."

Newstalk does so many things so very well, so their recent overuse of "Breaking News!" sticks out, and it would be interesting to find out why the heck they're choosing to do this. It's not good reporting, and it is weakening the impact of Newstalk's genuine, notable news.

Last edited by betaylored (March 16, 2018 9:00 am)


March 16, 2018 8:49 am  #2

Re: Breaking News! 1010 is breaking the breaking news rule.

I personally have always felt there should be 2 intros.. 

"Breaking NEWS" should only be used for URGENT, MAJOR Breaking Stories.

"Developing Story/Happening Now" should be used for these breaking, but no so urgent items.   I think it becomes like crying wolf screaming BREAKING NEWS all the time.   I also have wondered why they use "BREAKING NEWS" for traffic issues. "Traffic Alert" seems more fitting.

But it's not my call. 



March 16, 2018 8:51 am  #3

Re: Breaking News! 1010 is breaking the breaking news rule.

CityPanic is a worse offender. This first to the post amounts to nothing. Like the boy who cried wolf. The audience will "white noise" it all and perish if something catastrophic occurs.


March 16, 2018 8:58 am  #4

Re: Breaking News! 1010 is breaking the breaking news rule.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. (Or should that be "nothing news?") It's been going on for a long time at other stations, including those owned by Bell.

Although I never worked there, I happened to be in the CP24 newsroom many years ago (just after the Bell takeover) when the staff came out of a very hush hush secret meeting, just as they started with that "Toronto's Breaking News" theme, which they still use today. I remember seeing a producer turn around in his chair mere minutes after this new policy was imparted to them and excitedly ask one of the writers, "Do we have Breaking News?"

It was obvious they'd been told to ensure anything that could even moderately pass for a breaking story be immediately treated as such, in order to spread their new mantra. Well, you can guess what happened. If someone sneezed outside, we were presented with "Breaking News" that the cold virus was sweeping the city. If a car backfired, there might have been reports of gunshots in the west end, etc. etc. etc. (I'm exaggerating for effect but you get the idea.)

680 used to also be guilty of this, especially early on in the format. It's a bit better now, but they still do it, too. 

I suspect what's going on at 1010 is just a logical extension of that branding. In order to impress people that you're THE place to go for Breaking News, you have to continually have news to break. Even when you don't.

And it's not just Bell. CNN has to my increasing irritation had a "BREAKING NEWS" headline banner on just about everything or anything that happens, no matter how minor, for years and years. And the thing often stays up for hours, even when it's long past being breaking anything. The idea is to keep you tuned in, so you'll think something new and exciting is happening. A good 80% of the time, it's just a talking head commenting on something Donald Trump tweeted four hours ago. 

All I can say is get used to it. Though it cheapens the concept, it's not going away. Breaking news when it happens is a good thing. Calling something that when it isn't is more like breaking bad. And that's not good news.


March 16, 2018 8:59 am  #5

Re: Breaking News! 1010 is breaking the breaking news rule.

It won't be long until they interrupt with the world-changing 'Breaking News' that My Pillow has extended its 2 for one promo special.


March 16, 2018 11:02 am  #6

Re: Breaking News! 1010 is breaking the breaking news rule.

Well at least CTV Toronto's noon news begins with "Developing news" instead of "breaking news"...