NZH ‘breaking news’ broken

There has been a growing tendency for news sites to overplay the use of ‘breaking news’ and there’s been a growing number of criticisms of it.

I usually largely ignore them, but noticed on today which was hopelessly inappropriate.


Eyes rolled on Twitter:

That’s right, a pundit column by Bryce Edwards can hardly be called breaking news.  Edwards had already announced it would be coming the day before:

Not only was the counterpart published bannered by the Herald today not breaking news, it wasn’t news at all. It was a compilation of political conjecture and lobbying.

1) A link to Newshub’s Lloyd Burr article “On the most important policy issues, Labour can give NZ First what it wants”  – dated 5 October listing old bottom lines

2) One of Chris Trotters frequent wishful thinking spiels “Winston Peters wants a legacy of change” dated 9 October.

3) ‘Dear Winston’ – an open letter to the leader of NZ First’ – more lobbying by Trotter dated 10 October.

4) Finlay Macdonald argues “more than half the country” voted for change, and Peters could “play the role of elder statesman in a young, progressive government at a time when the need for economic, environmental and social reform has never been greater” – marked Opinion, dated 7 October.

And another 9 summaries of dated opinions and conjecture. None of it was news, and none of it was breaking.

Breaking news banners have become part of the clutter on news sites that, like advertising and the proliferation of click bait is usually avoided or ignored.

The Herald ‘breaking news’ banner is broken

‘Breaking news’ broken

I think that once upon a time ‘breaking news’ used to be occasional, bigger than normal fresh news. Online it has become a joke, a phrase to ignore. It is often just used as a way to promote click bait.

This from NZ Herald today is one of the stupidest I’ve seen.


Either the Herald machine is very poorly designed, or someone has no idea what qualifies as news let alone what ‘breaking’ means.

The news is that ‘breaking news’ is broken.

Not breaking news

There is a Twitter account that describes itself as “Breaking news about New Zealand.”

New Zealand Daily

Breaking news about New Zealand.

I’ve noticed that their news is often not exactly “breaking”. Like this tweet at 7.56 am on Thursday 4 June.

NewZealandDaily's avatar

Cricket-Rain holds up New Zealand victory bid

To anyone who follows cricket that’s obviously old news. Yesterday morning’s news was that New Zealand had won the test, so that is two days old.

Their other recent links are also linking to old news, two day old news generally.

Not a good look for something promoting “breaking news”

Breaking news, Key resigns

First, the breaking news.

It started last night at the top of the TV3 news bulletin, where they revealed a video clip of Key speaking in 2008, before he was elected Prime Minister. Duncan Garner claimed that Key has been misleading New Zealand over the past four years with this speech that no one knew about.

Highlights from Key’s 2008 ‘no job cuts’ speech

This news breaks new ground in a suspiciously timed rehash of something from the term before last.

Surreality TV at it’s finest, but is the news model broken?

And from The Standard, in an unprecedented (since the previous day) plea  – in a post so impassioned it would make a wolf cry – ‘Eddie calls on John Key to resign.

Key’s laundry list of broken promises

Written By: – Date published: 10:58 pm, March 14th, 2012

He must resign. Surely. Here is Key, speaking to the PSA in 2008, making very specific promises about public service jobs, tax cuts, and asset sales that helped him get elected. Promises he has since broken. There’s no excuse. He wasn’t blind-sided by events. He made these promises never intending to keep them.

Key is refusing to comment but if the man has any ethics he’ll resign.

Comments echo. Sayeth the baying bitches of blogs.

So John Key resigns, he resigns himself to having to put up with occasional dramatic society sideshows while he works on perfecting his grin of gratitude – to the media that diverts from the serious stuff, again.