The Next Breaking Headline

By Rose Ann Sinay

Every week day at 6:30, I sit in my favorite chair and watch The Evening News with Diane Sawyer. She delivers all the information I need to know in a warm, empathetic and competent manner – all in less than thirty minutes. Thirty minutes – that’s the key. She (and her staff) filter through the cornucopia of important, noteworthy and superfluous data and report the breaking news. When the program is over, it’s over and I am satiated for the moment.

But then, I go online – just to follow up on one of Diane’s interesting reports. It should only take a minute. Unfortunately, with global information just a click away, I can get sucked into the endless, clicking spiral from one news story to the next, and the next, and the next. Before I know it, hours have passed. My own writing-in-progress lies hidden under all the open screens that are connected by key words, related links and six degrees of separation, waiting for my attention.

Though I try to keep my focus on the world’s important developments, the smorgasbord of information on the web continually pops into my periphery. My original searches for pertinent daily news are interrupted, waylaid and redirected by tantalizing captions.

Right above the latest headlines are the expanding picture teasers: Celebrities Plastic Surgery Nightmares, Celebrities Baby Bumps and Child Stars: Then and Now. I don’t need or want this information. I must confess that in the past, I have made fun of people who veraciously read the “silly stuff.” So I don’t understand why I am compelled to click on it. Once I am caught up in this vortex, it takes an iron will (or a vocal, hungry husband waiting for his dinner) to pull me away.

Even checking the online dictionary to define words used in technical news reports can be dangerous. There are word definition games (one of my weaknesses) that lure me to stay on the site. Just try it. See how impressive your vocabulary really is, the unknown game master challenges.

Did you know you can keep playing the same loop of words over and over again until you get them one hundred percent right? I just took a vocabulary quiz. I like to think I am good with words. After completing ten sets of quizzes the dictionary master has deemed me average for my age group. I need more practice. Hours, maybe. Hey, it’s educational; and besides, I’ve already forgotten the news article I was checking on.

I am not a “celebrities” person. I’m not one of those people who would camp outside my doorstep if I knew a movie star would be passing right in front of my house. Okay, there are a couple of exceptions – Blake Shelton, for example. And, yes, I would invite him in for a glass of wine, just to gaze at his face and listen to him talk. So, of course, when I see the bolded sidebar on my computer screen promising the unadulterated scoop on Mr. Shelton, it calls my name. It tells me that I want to know what Blake ate for dinner last night and what he really thinks about his fellow judges on The Voice. It tells me that I will wonder about it at 2 o’clock in the morning if I don’t look now. That does it. I need my sleep.

As I scroll down the page to read more about the adorable country singer, another bold headline tells me that Stephen King’s book, Under the Dome, is being filmed locally. It’s going to be a television series. Since I am Mr. King’s biggest fan, (just call me Annie Wilkes) I can’t help but take a peek.

At the end of the piece is the “Related Article” tab. That tab is really an octopus. Its tentacles are long and winding and can go places you’ve never imagined. I know I shouldn’t push it. No, I won’t. No. No. Nooooooo!

Click…

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

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6 Responses to “The Next Breaking Headline”

  1. Jody says:

    So true! I’m so glad that I’m not the only one with “Internet Clicking Fever.” A quick search for a recipe or a definition can take hours–HOURS–where I, too, get sucked down the rabbit hole of non sequiturs and celebrity gossip. I love the humor in your essay!

  2. kathy strunk says:

    I had a good laugh reading this… I do the exact same thing. By the way, let me now if you can arrange that glass of wine with Blake… from what I “read”, he may like at least two glasses of wine and I will buy the second one :)

  3. Exactly what happened to me last night; so much for a “few minutes” on the computer! Loved it Rose Ann! You’ve done it again! I’m going to just throw in the towel as far as any ambitions I’ve ever had for writing; my sentiments exactly, and you’ve already captured them!

  4. Kailey says:

    Wait- if I don’t peruse the Internet for hours getting lost in another world, I’d have to talk to “real” people. Hmmm…. Nicely put story of a world we live in today where important news is lightly defined (and maybe more fun!).

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