If It Isn’t News

by Roger Pynn

One more reason not to trust anyone who utters or prints the words “breaking news” came today at OrlandoSentinel.com where unsuspecting readers were lured to click their way to a story about an incident that took place in 2011.

Sure, headlines have always been intended to capture reader attention.  But when a newspaper positions something as having just happened, when in fact it is more of an educational story about something readers may not have known before … it is clear the headline is a blatant promotional effort to build ad revenue.

The headline under the Sentinel’s Orlando Breaking News banner read:  “Otter kills gator at Florida wildlife refuge” and it promised photos if you clicked the link.  It even said the story had been updated at 10:15 a.m.  Here’s where the click took readers … to the paper’s “Gone Viral” blog, positioned as “trolling the Internet for news and not news.”

If it isn’t news, how can it be “breaking news?”

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