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The Lost Art of Breaking News

When no Pulitzer was given for the “Breaking News” category this year, Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler indicated to Poynter that perhaps there was no winner because the few entries received for the category just weren’t good enough.

The odd thing is that news is now being broken faster than ever, via a variety of different means, in particular, Twitter. But Karen Dunlap argues for Poynter that the weakness today is not in quickly reporting breaking news, but in presenting facts to tell a cohesive story.

Journalists have more options than ever before in reporting tools, including video, the written word, slideshows, timelines, charts, audio and more. The question is: Do citizens consume a full and accurate report or just taste an array of interesting pieces?

This is a good time to consider what the array of digital tools mean to storytelling, especially during breaking news.

Given the choice between being the first to tweet out an important news item, versus taking some time to tell a story about it — and risking someone else tweeting out the same story first — more and more journalists opt to be the ones to get the first Tweet. But perhaps there is something lost in reducing everything to 140 characters — and not just the Pulitzer.

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