In 1969, Gay Talese described breaking big stories as an act of exhilaration and majesty. A reporter “sensed the vast machinery of [his newspaper] moving and reaching across the world grasping for the truth,” Talese writes. “[H]e was constantly impressed at how smoothly the enormous organization seemed to be closing in on a single story.”
In an era of social media and global correspondence, the effort to write a breaking story has changed in some ways, but not in others. Take, for instance, The New York Times’ coverage of the November terrorist attacks in Paris, a major international story that’s been back in the headlines since Belgian police arrested a key suspect in those attacks in March.