When I was a kid, there was nothing more frightening than hearing your TV show sound cut out, and then hear the words, “We interrupt this broadcast.” One has to wonder, however, if those days are gone for good.
With the news this week that Newsweek will be ceasing print periodicals due to increasing pressures from 39 percent of Americans getting their news from the Internet, it made me think of how the number one source for breaking news in my childhood was the program interruption. You would see the network identification come up, and the ominous voice telling you that they were breaking into the program with a special or breaking report. Your heart would stop and immediately jump into your throat as you knew they never did this for good news.
In this age of always on, always connected lifestyles we lead, will anyone ever really hear big news this way again? Television news is quickly becoming a thing of the past for me as I almost always know of the news via Twitter or other Internet sources long before the TV networks can get someone in the control room to throw a switch. I have one column of my Tweetdeck dedicated to nothing but news sources, and I see a constant flow of stories going by every few minutes. If something catches my eye, I flip over to one of the 24 hour news stations, and usually have to wait for them to catch up to get the deeper details.
While I hate seeing the end of magazines I grew up with, and newspapers waning more and more, I can’t say I will be too sad to see the end of the broadcast interruption. I can quite happily live without ever feeling my heart jump into my throat again … or having my cartoons interrupted.