The old adage goes: Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper. But does it still stand up in this time of digital disruption? Today’s news can pique the interest of just one individual whom, with a humorous treatment, or some witty repartee, can launch it into the ether via the wonders of social media. Momentum gathered, traction gained, and voila, social media has made this saying redundant.
News to come out of France recently, involves a decision made 26 years ago. Not exactly satisfying the newsworthy tenet of timeliness. However, it has garnered much attention – and not just in France. Recent coverage has included The Guardian syndicated world-wide.
The story goes like this, 26 years ago, the Academie Francaise, the watchdogs of the French language, approved spelling changes to 2,400 French words. The new spellings, while not enforced, were included in dictionaries, and schools accepted both old and new as correct.
In 2008, France’s education ministry referenced the new spellings and again in November 2015, a further government document discussed the spelling changes and resultant new texts. That’s 26 years, changes to dictionaries, school education pursuant to the changes, and two government edicts. And yet, nothing.
Until… in February 2016 channel TF1 in France broadcast a story on the spelling changes. This was seen by a student union group who blamed the education minister for changing the spelling rules of the French language. The momentum began. A far-right party vice president weighed in as well as the mayor of Nice, south of France. The daily, Le Parisien, picked up the story and the president of the National Schools Union commented as well. Traction gained. And then public outrage ensued with the instigation of a #JeSuisCirconflexe Twitter feed (derived from #JeSuisCharlie).
So how does this apply here to us? Well it just goes to show that old news in a new hat can give the image of it stepping out in an entirely new outfit. Yes, timeliness, is still one of the criteria of newsworthiness, along with for the greater good, and in the public interest. However, there are ways to top your news in a new hat. We follow the trends, we look to what’s happening overseas, we’re probably constantly asking you if there are any new studies, statistics, or advancements, and all to top off your news. You’ll find we also try to piggyback off current news stories and put you forward for comment… because you never know when your #JeSuisCirconflexe moment will arrive.
Today’s news, tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper, I think not.