Rolling News Coverage - For Better or Worse?

Breaking this out into its own thread.

Have they? I’m conflicted.

When a network broke in for rolling coverage years ago it used to mean something significant happened that was worthy of dropping regular programming for an extended period of time where news was changing regularly or a period of international significance (9/11, terror attacks etc). What did anyone gain out of today that couldn’t have been served by a 5 minute newsbreak post sentencing? We knew the crimes, the interest level of today was how long he’d be behind bars for - a fact we found out after an hour. I can point to other incidents where rolling coverage has seemingly been done for the sake of it because news is one of the remaining sure-raters left, or gone on too long etc.

On the other hand, clearly the interest levels of the public show people do want it. And technology has made it easier for rolling coverage to happen. Plus the shows they’re replacing are usually low rating filler.

Today’s (Pell) story was hugely significant, don’t get me wrong but as I say, it could have been covered tighter and better by an extended news break.

I just think sometimes it turns into a dick-swinging contest between the networks and because one is doing it, the other decides it has to as well.

Perhaps I’m gonna be talking to the wrong crowd, given we love a Breaking News story but the proliferation of the extended coverage can be rather exhausting.


Rightly or wrongly, I think the ever increasing proliferation of social media has forever changed the way Breaking News is presented on TV (and to some extent, radio) over the past decade.

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Definitely. I think what has also certainly changed is the definition of “breaking news”.


As a news fan, I prefer rolling news coverage to none at all - particularly during daylight hours when the regular programming is usually an old movie or a reality TV repeat.


You just know that there are a dozen reporters stationed outside that county court room right now ready to do live cross across the bulletins even though all the action was 5-6 hours ago :slight_smile:


What’s the bet The Latest will do a live cross?

Personally I think it’s overdone. Leave it to the news channels and online. I see Nine probably were expecting a quick outcome and left the Judge’s remarks.

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I saw the funniest and most pointless live cross ever today. A local reporter standing outside the San Francisco house used for exterior shots in the Full House opening credits commenting on the involvement of “Aunt Becky” in the college admissions bribery scandal.


Back in the 90s, it was rare to see rolling news coverage. The networks would usually have newsbreaks and the 6pm news was king.

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Or a newsflash which would break into programming. So rare that you’d take notice.

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Back then a Newsflash was obviously when something serious happened and you actually took notice.
Whereas nowadays what is classed as 'breaking news ’ doesn’t always draw my attention.
Rolling news coverage can for me be difficult to watch if it is a tragic situation… and if it’s a developing story you hear the same details for hours without any actual fresh details because it’s just happened.


How is this being judged though?

I’ve noticed this is becoming a lot more prevalent - particularly between Seven and Nine. There have been times when one of them are there padding for time only because the other is continuing their coverage.

This infuriates me - it adds nothing to the broadcast.

I’d assume historical previous broadcasts etc.

Big events such as the Queensland Floods in January 2011 had rolling coverage all day including in prime time with regular programming abandoned. It was the case from 11th to 14th January that year.

Cyclone Yasi also had rolling coverage and more recently Cyclone Debbie in March 2017.

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Well yes, but the 2011 Queensland Floods were a major national tragedy. I think most would agree that only in very exceptional circumstances like those (and also September 11, the Martin Place Siege, etc.), it’d be acceptable to abandon primetime or potentially even sports coverage in favour of rolling coverage of “once in a decade” news.

Personally I don’t have much of a problem with low rating daytime movies or encores being abandoned for rolling coverage of a major news event. Not sure what it says about how the networks view their mid-morning shows when they’re abandoned for coverage under the main news brand though!


The problem with an extended newsbreak is when do you air it to ensure the biggest possible audience see it?

If a person turns on their TV wanting the latest information and don’t see it, the first thing they’re going to do is pull out their phone to Google it and get their news that way.

As soon as you have the news, like you always have. I get TV news orgs are in an ever competitive environment with online. But it would have been easy to crash out of programme as soon as the sentence was read out and deliver the news.

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I completely see the argument for that and 10 years ago that would’ve sufficed, but in this day and age, with social media and breaking news apps/alerts on your phone, if you’re not covering it right now then people will just go elsewhere.
I don’t think networks have the option anymore, they need to make sure people are counting on them for the news and not turning elsewhere - just look at Nine: as soon as they dropped the judge’s remarks, viewers tuned out.