What Does Break A Story Mean?

Break A Story Meaning

Definition: To reveal important information for the first time.

This phrase, when used in the news (its most common usage), means to be the first to televise or otherwise publish the story of an event. It is usually a story that is so important or relevant that it takes precedence over, and interrupts, other news.

This phrase can also be said among friends who use it when presenting new information to each other; this, however, is less common.

Origin of To Break A Story

story break The word break has had the meaning to disclose since the mid-13th century. Story, meaning newspaper article, comes from the late-19th century. It can be said that the phrase is a natural combination of these meanings; however, it is more likely that it comes from modern radio and television technology.

When radio and television programming first began, they both had a fairly regular schedule of events. If something important happened, producers would break (in the sense of taking a break from and also breaking into) regularly scheduled programs to relay the events.

Because of this, the phrase probably didn’t originate until the early- to mid-1900s, though the first sources are unclear.

Examples of To Break A Story

breaking the story meaning In the modern day, people use news and story interchangeably when speaking about non-news related events. For example,

  • They broke the news to us last night that they were getting a divorce.

When talking about actual news events, ironically, story is often used:

  • He sat down to talk to CNN, who broke the story about the latest appointment.

On the news today, it is common to hear Breaking news! as an introduction when the reporter is about to introduce a major news story.

More Examples

  • Hollingworth went on to become a career war correspondent, though she never again broke a story as momentous as the outbreak of World War II. –The Journal Gazette
  • Judicial watch also broke a story about Mexican drug cartels smuggling foreigners from countries with terrorist links into a small Texas rural town near El Paso. –World Tribune


To break a story means to release important information or distribute a news story for the first time.