Hot News in the Age of Big Data: A Legal History of the Hot News Doctrine and Implications for the Digital Age

Hot News in the Age of Big Data: A Legal History of the Hot News Doctrine and Implications for the Digital Age

Hot News in the Age of Big Data: A Legal History of the Hot News Doctrine and Implications for the Digital Age

Hot News in the Age of Big Data: A Legal History of the Hot News Doctrine and Implications for the Digital Age

Synopsis

The way news and information is gathered, reported, and digested has forever changed, and the increasing emphasis on speed is altering how society receives and acts on the information it processes. This book examines the origin, application, and development of the legal doctrine of "hot news," which in U.S. law protects the facts of timely news and information for a limited period. It examines the doctrine's nearly 100-year history and its continued ability to preserve the economic value of news and information for its creators. Though declared dead by some, the doctrine is very much alive as common law and has significant implications for the new age of big data.

Excerpt

Today, the use of the word “BREAKING” to label the most current news feels much like the knock at the front door – the urgency to know and respond to the noise is unrelenting if not also required. Breaking news in the early 21 century shouts at us to pay attention in an increasingly crowded media space. TV news anchors question their reporters on the scene of breaking news events as they breathlessly give us the latest “LIVE” details. Ordinary citizens use the word to report major news by posting to social media sites and websites around the globe. With broadband networks and other new digital tools, citizen and freelance journalists now occupy the social media landscape with tweets of a new revolution halfway across the world (think Tunisia) or Twitpics of a plane crashing (think Captain Sully on the Hudson River). Smartphones relentlessly ping at us about matters both large and small – and instant messages from friends and family compete in the same space as war reports and market meltdowns.

This new reality has unleashed criticism about how today’s breaking news is reported and the effects of stacking such instantaneous information in our collective memory. Gabriella Coleman, a sociologist who studies online culture recently commented that the media’s obsession with newness impedes political transformation. Coleman thinks “we need to retell stories or else the message does not sink in.” Within the scholarship of critical media studies, speed theorists like Sarah Sharma observe speed culture with a clear warning: “New technologies and faster moving capital herald . . .

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