If you use a phrase too many times and too often in the wrong context, does it lose its meaning?
According to Louisville Fox affiliate WDRB, that’s exactly what has happened to the term “breaking news.”
“It’s an advertising trick, a gimmick that isn’t based on anything,” the announcer says in an ad the station has been running. “‘Breaking news’ is seldom actually breaking and, quite often, isn’t even news.”
In big block letters, the video states, “Breaking news is a lie.”
The station issued a “Contract with our Viewers
” that includes a vow never to use the term “breaking news” in its reporting. Other promises in the contract include “calm and rational” weather reporting, no mimicking competitors, and valuing being right over being first.
WDRB also has what it calls a “Contract with Advertisers
,” which includes promises never to preempt ads bought at “fair market rates,” to honor verbal agreements, and to build healthy relationships.
One could assume that means WDRB wouldn’t engage in activities like the so-called on-air “catfight”
between a morning anchorwoman and a meteorologist on Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate.
What do you think? Is “breaking news” broken? Is there a PR equivalent that has lost its oomph?
RELATED: Hear how top companies adapted to the digital PR industry changes at this August event.