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WDRB Explains Why It Thinks ‘Breaking News’ is Broken

This week’s post about Louisville FOX affiliate WDRB‘s decision to curtail its use of the term “Breaking News” collected a lot of facebook likes and stirred up a lot of discussion.

Monday, the station began airing a promo saying, “You hear the term, ‘Breaking News’ quite frequently these days. It’s a marketing ploy to convince you that at television station is better at bringing you the news first, as it happens. The problem is, it’s just not true.”

TVSpy asked Bill Lamb, president and general manager of WDRB, to put a little context behind the station’s decision. At first, Lamb took issue with our headline saying the station had stopped using the term “Breaking News.” He clarified, “We will use the term Breaking News judiciously.”

Lamb went on to explain, “All three of our competitors in Louisville lean on “Breaking News” as though they invented it.  It is in their slogan, it is forced into every newscast as often as possible, and it is a marketing gimmick intended to mislead the public into thinking that they are really there when news is breaking.”

The WDRB GM said he’s got stiff competition in Louisville and told TVSpy he wants his station to not just be good, he wants it to be great, “Greatness begins with truth and that’s why we have never really been a “breaking news” station,” he said.

But Glenn Haygood, president and general manager of rival CBS affiliate WLKY told TVSpy WDRB’s decision won’t change their approach, “WLKY believes that coverage of breaking news is important to Louisville’s news viewers; and when appropriate, WLKY will report breaking news over-the-air, online and via mobile as news events unfold.”

Lamb, though, said labeling everything ‘Breaking News’ is the equivalent of being the station that cries ‘wolf.’ “I believe people are feeling mislead and are turning a deaf ear to it which is reflected in the public’s trust in journalists at perhaps an all time low,” he added, “We feel this is a dangerous and self destructive path to take. To reference another fable, we finally decided to be the one who yells, “Hey! The Emperor has no clothes!”

Here’s the promo that started the discussion:

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