Wednesday, October 21, 2009

280. June 2001 Death Linked to Contaminated Medicine


Published news story by Lurene Helzer for Bay City News, June 13, 2001, “Second Death Linked to Contaminated Medication”. This is one of those stories you needed to move fast, although it’s not new information.

Wire services remain invaluable to news organizations/communities because they can, in seconds, get urgent news out to multiple media agencies within a region or network and get the immediate attention of editors. Now, the internet does this largely, but the information on the internet is too vast, overwhelming and unfiltered. When it comes to breaking news items for immediate broadcast, wire services like Bay City News and larger services still provide a crucial service.

At the same time, though, some news providers have essentially cheapened the meaning of “breaking” news. The assassination of a prominent world or local leader is a “breaking” news item in the minutes and hours following the murder, but the arrest of a new suspect in a two-month old story about the nightclub beating of a popular fashion model is not of the same gravity. Both are interesting stories, but only the first qualifies as breaking news.

For the record, stories are categorized by news agencies according to public importance. The highest priority, according to The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, is a Flash. Those are extremely rare news items of global interest. It has to be something like, “FLASH; SPACE CENTER, HOUSTON – Man lands on the moon.”

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