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Scoops are important and likely to interest or concern many people. A scoop is typically a new story, or a new aspect to an existing or breaking news story. Generally the story is unexpected, or surprising, and/or a former secret, so the scoop typically comes from an exclusive source. Events open to a multitude of witnesses generally cannot become scoops, (e.g., a natural disaster, or the announcement at a press conference). However, exclusive news content is not always a scoop, as it may not provide the requisite importance or excitement. A scoop may be also defined retrospectively; a story may come to be known as a scoop because of a historical change in perspective of a particular event. Due to their secret nature, scandals are a prime source of scoops (e.g., the Watergate scandal by Washington Post journalists Woodward and Bernstein).
Scoops are part of journalistic lore, and generally confer prestige on the journalist or news organization.
More generally, a scoop is when someone learns or reports something important before others.
A scoop in the scientific community is when results are reported by one group before another, giving them scientific priority.
- Barbie Zelizer, Stuart Allen, Keywords in News and Journalism Studies, ISBN 0335221831, p. 139
- Online Etymology Dictionary
- Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. scoop (v.1) 5b
- "I have received this information from Pali, he has visited Rumania". "Rumania? For the toxic-weapons conference? That would be a scoop!" le Carré, "The Secret Pilgrim", Ch. Six., P. 140.