Breaking News – Watching it Unfold

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April 23, 2013 by ehempstead

One of the best parts of technology, especially on the internet, is the ability to edit. So, of course, news on the internet is edited frequently, and updated constantly. That first posting is usually immediately after the news breaks, so it’s often very scant. Here, I’ll be looking at the structure taken by this particular article from the BBC, which has finally settled on the title “Gay Marriage: MPs back bill despite Conservative backbench opposition”. Image

The first version of the article is extremely simple, with a placeholder image that says ‘breaking news’. We start with our who, what, where when, and how. I’m surprised they managed to find a quote so soon, though it’s obviously paraphrased. You can tell they have little information, because the sentence about ‘Conservative MPs’ is essentially pure projection. Image

This new update adds in a quote from Tim Loughton, which essentially confirms the projected quote–however, it still says ‘MPs are thought to have voted’, so things still aren’t up to speed.


During the next update, a new section was added, called ‘We are all equal’. The feature of this section is positive opinion toward the legislation, full of quotes about equality of marriage and gender. The ‘breaking news’ placeholder image also became a video of the subject. However, the article is still obviously incomplete, and seriously leans anti-Tory. Note the titles and the current content, which leans positive.

Now, let’s move to the structure of the final article. There are three sections: Introduction, ‘We are all Equal’ and ‘Divided Nation’. The introduction begins with a traditional lead, showing the serious nature of the story. As the comments on the article have shot up, and because of the issue being a very public one, it’s just right.

I suppose I can’t be overly critical of the author, whoever it is. The article is well-written and quote heavy, with tons of opinions flying around. Considering the issue, that’s very fitting.


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