Breaking News is Broken News

Lu Hanessian
Breakthrough
Published in
7 min readMay 26, 2020

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When a tweet taunt and a mass death toll are both Breaking News, then, news flash: The media is normalizing nightmares. Americans have got to wake up.

Lu Hanessian, MSc

Photo by Tina Rataj-Berard on Unsplash

Back in the day, a story would merit “special report” status and warrant interruption of regularly scheduled programming.

When was that day?

Before 24/7 wall-to-wall news networks. Before teleprompters and IFB (interruptible foldback) ear devices. Before cult of personality and opinion television. Back in that day, anchors were handed a news bulletin. And with stoicism and, when appropriate, compassion, they would deliver the news — often alarming news — to a nation that, a minute before, was innocent to it.

Breaking News was that Special Report too urgent to wait until the end of the broadcast. It was considered a public service.

This just in.

And we would sit up and take notice. Back then, the public had a basic trust in its news anchors. When Peter Jennings spoke, we didn’t think he was a liberal or a conservative. When Barbara Walters joined the anchor desk next to Harry Reasoner, we didn’t think they were skewing the story to satisy or rouse their audience.

The Media wasn’t born yet. And even then, in living rooms of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the…

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Lu Hanessian
Breakthrough

Adjunct Professor, Journalist, Former NBC Network Anchor/Discovery Health Channel Host, Host & Exec Producer of “The Foreseeable Now” podcast.