It seems you can’t turn your TV to a local news station without being bombarded by splashy graphics and screaming announcements promoting “breaking news.” My guess is many viewers are becoming desensitized to this, but the stations keep insisting that their newscasts have the exclusive scoop, the latest update or were the first to break a news story.
Earlier this month, the Louisville Fox affiliate WDRB announced its position that “breaking news is a lie” and it was putting an end to the sensational reporting practices that are so common among their peer stations. The station published a contract with its viewers, which includes promises such as “we will strive to present reporting that is bias free,” “weather reporting will be calm and rational – never sensational” and “we will strive to be first but never at the expense of being right.”
There has been no shortage of posts here on Taking Aim about the media’s love of “breaking news” and other sensational reporting practices that many outlets rely on to attract viewers and advertisers. Perhaps if other stations follow WDRB’s lead, we may start to see the end of sensational news and a return to rational journalism.
Since I’m not in the Louisville market, I can’t speak to how well WDRB is living up to its vow to end the lie of breaking news in its broadcasts. However, I did review the station’s website and the stories on WDRB’s homepage seem to be fairly straightforward and non-sensational.
Although as seen above, the station may have simply started using the term “News Alert” in place of “Breaking News” in its promotions. It makes we wonder if this was simply a case of semantics or if the station is actually making a paradigm shift that could have the potential to change the media landscape for the better.