Who broke the big news?
June 8, 2006 5:53 PM   Subscribe

[Newsfilter] How would one go about finding out who and when broke the big news?

Example: Trying to find out who was first to report Zarqawi's elimination. Google News is so flooded that it stopped me on 100th page (by the way is that the google limit?). But in general how does one go about researching this? Insight into methodology would be appreciated as well as well.
posted by andrewyakovlev to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might try searching technorati, because the first blog mention and the first news mention are very likely to be within 2 minutes of each other.
posted by evariste at 5:57 PM on June 8, 2006

BTW, it was ABCNews.
posted by evariste at 5:57 PM on June 8, 2006

Followed shortly by Reuters.
posted by evariste at 5:58 PM on June 8, 2006

I don't know if broke is really appropriate here. To break a story implies some sort of investigation, uncovering something. This story was given by the US to the news media, so then it was just a race to publication.

In most cases where stories are broken, you'll see a lot of attributation. If you see something like "reports said" or "a newspaper said" that means it's a follow-up story, and wasn't broken there. On the other hand, a screaming EXCLUSIVE at the top usually (but not, er, exclusively) signposts the outlet that broke it
posted by bonaldi at 6:29 PM on June 8, 2006

Did ABC get it from Reuters? The most common way news breaks is through a flash from AP or Reuters. The flashes ("newsalerts" actually, they use the term flash for only the biggest most earth shaking news even though everyone calls them that) don't get picked up on google news.

On preview, "breaking a story" is a phrase also often used generally for announcing something first.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:34 PM on June 8, 2006

Wasn't it announced at a press conference by the Iraqi Prime Minister? In which case, the wire services would all get it at the same time.
posted by matthewr at 6:40 PM on June 8, 2006

Yes, I wasn't especially clear up there. "Breaking" a story means being the one who announces it to the world. If a journalist does it, that generally means they've researched it and got the exclusive. If someone involved in the story does it, then it's a press release, although in this usage it's usually a pre-emptive confirmation.

"When did that story break?"
"They confirmed it at 10 last night".
posted by bonaldi at 6:50 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: I tried technorati and my search stoped at page 50.
It says there 73092 posts for "Zarqawi"
it only gives me 1000th on page 50 or 5 hours back
I'm assuming the news broke at about 7:45-ish ET and on Reuters. But how can I be sure? How can I search 14 hours ago since both google and technorati stop before that!!!
posted by andrewyakovlev at 6:53 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: i think what's adding onto the confusion are the different time zone as well
posted by andrewyakovlev at 7:00 PM on June 8, 2006

Okay, so I was curious and looked around. ABC broke the news.

At 3:15 AM ET, AP moved this alert:

BC-APNewsAlert,0038 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister is expected to make an important announcement amid report that al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed.

Here's the AP account of ABC's scoop:

ABC News scores overnight beat on story of al-Zarqawi’s death By DAVID BAUDER AP Television Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Thanks to a reporter jolted out of a vacation — if not sleep — ABC News scored a significant beat on its competitors Thursday when it was the first on the air to report the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq. ABC broke into regular programming at 2:38 a.m. EDT to say it had confirmed al-Zarqawi’s death in a U.S. bombing. NBC’s report came at 3:16 a.m. while CBS News checked in at 3:40 a.m. The ABC News report was based on a tip phoned from a source to Martha Raddatz, who was named ABC’s chief White House correspondent last November after a dozen years covering the Pentagon for ABC News and National Public Radio. Raddatz, who reported via phone on the air to ABC overnight anchors Ron Corning and Tainia Hernandez, sourced her report to a senior military official. Raddatz has been on vacation for the past two weeks writing a book about a battle in the Iraq war, and said she had left ABC’s news bureau in Washington at 2 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, she had just closed her eyes when the phone rang with the tip. She immediately put the word out on a special internal phone line that alerts ABC News offices to breaking news. Besides Raddatz’s reporting on the phone, the ABC special report included a prepared piece by Brian Ross on al-Zarqawi. Raddatz, who has been to Iraq 10 times, said she’s kept up with Pentagon sources despite her beat change and had impressed upon them the importance of the story. She said she believed her trips to Iraq had helped her build credibility with military sources. “It’s a good thing these things are exhilarating,” she said, “because you need to be exhilarated when you haven’t slept all night.” It was a timely dose of good news for ABC, which has suffered in the past year with the death of Peter Jennings and the injury to anchor Bob Woodruff in a roadside bombing in Iraq. ABC News President David Westin sent an e-mail of congratulations to his staff, saying Raddatz had “proved once again the profound difference that outstanding reporting can make.” ABC also beat the full-time news networks, which air reruns at that hour, on the story: MSNBC broke in with the news at 3:07 a.m., CNN at 3:22 a.m. and Fox News Channel at 3:28 a.m. The Associated Press alerted members to reports of al-Zarqawi’s death at 3:15 a.m., following it with confirmation from the Iraqi prime minister at 3:37 a.m.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:21 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: ok so it was at 2:23:14 ET
Iraq PM to announce Zarqawi death-TV
Looks like Reuters Alertnet was the answer I was looking for.
posted by andrewyakovlev at 7:23 PM on June 8, 2006

Why do you want to know? And are you concerned with how you'd find out in general, or just for this story?
posted by bonaldi at 7:23 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: oh just read that, thanks for the info too CunningLinguist :]
posted by andrewyakovlev at 7:25 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: Bonaldi, yeah I'd like to know in general. Alertnet seems pretty thorough though.
posted by andrewyakovlev at 7:26 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: and here's
Timeline for how Bush informed of Zarqawi death
Cause Bush is on top of that game yo!
posted by andrewyakovlev at 7:28 PM on June 8, 2006

AlertNet will only give you humanitarian-type news, however.

I'm still really curious as to why you'd be interested in when and who broke such stories.
posted by bonaldi at 7:31 PM on June 8, 2006

BTW, ABC mentioned that Raddatz broke the story on their nightly news.
posted by smackfu at 8:31 PM on June 8, 2006

7:23:14 GMT is 3:23:14 ET, so that Alertnet item was (according to CunningLinguist's post) after the story had already been on several TV channels.

What doesn't make sense to me is why it's a "significant beat" for ABC to get the story out 29 minutes before their whcompetitors when most of the people that their advertisers want watching are asleep. Do the advertisers really care about this stuff? I can't believe many viewers are going to switch to ABC because they heard they showed a news story half an hour earlier in the middle of the night...(I know it was only 11:38 in California, but that's still after some peoples' bedtimes)
posted by pinespree at 11:56 PM on June 8, 2006

Response by poster: Bonaldi, I'm researching the effects of terrorism (+/- news) on global markets. As for Alertnet, I don't see how the items I've linked would be dubbed as "humanitarian-type." It seems there's more to Alertnet then meets the eye. ;]

Pinespree, if by ET we mean Eastern Standard Time (Like East Coast, NYC, Boston, etc.) then it's a -5 hour difference. Greenwich is 5 hours ahead of New York. San Juan though, as well as Caracas are -4.
posted by andrewyakovlev at 4:11 AM on June 9, 2006

StrategyPage reported it before it happened!
posted by Neiltupper at 9:42 AM on June 9, 2006

andrewyakovlev, GMT doesn't observe Daylight Saving, but the Eastern United States does. In the winter it's five hours, in the summer it's four. Greenwich, the location is five hours ahead, but GMT is not.
posted by pinespree at 10:07 AM on June 9, 2006

Response by poster: Touche pinespree, you must be a pilot :] Thank you for the correction.
posted by andrewyakovlev at 9:32 AM on June 10, 2006

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