is an informal term used in journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...
. The word connotes originality, importance, surprise or excitement, secrecy and exclusivity.
Stories likely considered to be scoops are important news
News is the communication of selected information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience.- Etymology :...
, likely to interest or concern many people. A scoop is typically a new story, or a new aspect to an existing or breaking news
Breaking news, also known as a special report or news bulletin, is a current event that broadcasters feel warrants the interruption of scheduled programming and/or current news in order to report its details. Many times, breaking news is used after the news network has already reported on this story...
story. Generally the story is unexpected, or surprising, and/or a former secret. This means the scoop typically must come from an exclusive source. Events open to a multitude of witnesses generally cannot become scoops, (e.g. a natural disaster, or the announcement of a scientific breakthrough at a press conference). However, exclusive news content is not always a scoop, as it may not provide the requisite importance or excitement. An example of this may be interviews with a local resident about a local event. 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).
in this context may also be a verb. To scoop another journalist is to acquire a scoop-like story before the other, typically by initiative. So, to make a scoop also implies that the journalist in question is hard-working and professional. Scoops typically raise the profile of the journalist that makes them.
The word scoop
is of American origin, first referenced in 1874.
In some of John le Carré
David John Moore Cornwell , who writes under the name John le Carré, is an author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels under the pseudonym "John le Carré"...
's spy novels, the term scoop
is used for obtaining information of major strategic importance - which is, in this context, not intended for outside publication.
Usage in the academic community
The term is also used in the scientific community when a scientist or research group publishes their findings first. Being beat to the punch in this regard renders one group's work redundant, and is regarded as a very undesirable outcome (hence the title of Phdcomics book 'Scooped'), particularly since in some cases a single paper can include years of work and can qualify the scientists for competitive prizes.