The architecture of news cycles has changed dramatically, of course. These days, by the time traditional print and broadcast news outlets present stories of the day, they’re more likely feeding back to us what we’ve already heard than they are giving us something brand new. The exceptions include investigative reporting, scoops or what we’ve vaguely called in the journalism biz, “enterprise” work — now known as “unique content” when we want to try to charge people for it.
But general news, like “ideas and products and messages and behaviors, spread like viruses,” says Malcolm Gladwell, the hip Christopher Columbus of modern trends.
Now that every human being with an electronic device is a potential recorder of events, the early adopter mavens in news cycles slam information up on Twitter, Facebook status updates and other social media, dialed-in connectors spread it around, and salesmen give it credibility.
Breaking stories like the Joe Wilson/Kanye meltdowns, the celebrity death marches of Jacko, Ted Kennedy, and Patrick Swayze, have all been scooped, spread, and confirmed before the MSM gets a chance
What’s left for tradition? Too often it’s dubious analysis and reheating of topics-as-trends, like the USA Today cover story on the Death of Civility. They know you know, but they want you to KNOW they know you know.