Brook the Amazing Wonder Dog

Brook has the scoop

Brook is old. You’d be forgiven for wondering why I’m bringing her up in a blog about emerging media but what you don’t know is that she’s a leading indicator of news delivery. I’ll explain.

Brook the Amazing Wonder Dog

She’s 20 years old. In her prime, there was no better athlete anywhere on earth. You should have seen her — she would hand me a frisbee and I’d throw it 50 yards as fast as I could. Somehow, despite all that distance, she’d get to it, do some sort of amazing acrobatic move and catch the darned thing. Every time. We named her after baseball great, Brooks Robinson because you couldn’t get a ball past him either.

It hasn’t been all fun-and-games for my border collie. Up until last year, she earned her keep by sprinting out in every sort of weather, and retrieving my morning paper. She was always so proud when she dropped it at my feet. Truth be told, for the past few years, the paper was more about her than me. I’d sometimes read parts of it but the importance of the daily paper had diminished.

World's Best DogRecently, she finally retired from the news business. I miss the young and energetic version of Brook but really, I don’t miss the daily paper. There may be only one Brook but I think a lot of people are finding they don’t miss their paper. What amazes me is that people seem to be at least as well informed today as they ever have been. Which makes me wonder… what has replaced Brook?

Pew Research found that a lot of people are getting their news from social media. In fact, in their research, 30% of Americans say they get news from Facebook. Facebook! It’s true though. Have you “liked” a news organization? 1.4 million are following NBC Nightly News. 25 million follow CNN’s feed. 3 million follow USAToday.

Some stories spread faster on social media than traditional media ever could manage. How did you hear about Robin Williams’ death? What about the plane crash in the French Alps? If you’re like most, you first heard about it through social media.

And then a whole host of niche news websites have emerged in recent years. Me and 42 million other people read Mashable every month. Buzzfeed has 130 million unique visitors per month.

Brook is the world's best dogI had it pretty easy for all those years. All I had to do pretty much was open the door and Brook did the rest. I really never thought about how much work the news was for me, but even with the paper dropped at my feet, I still had to search through to find the news that was of interest to me. I would have thought it couldn’t get easier but now it sure is. My feeds are so fine tuned that the news that matters to me just appears in front of me during the day, and often it’s in real time. Poor Brook. She didn’t have a chance.



Anderson, M., & Caumont, A. (2014, September 24). How social media is reshaping news. Retrieved from

Lichterman, J. (2014, July 22). From Grumpy Cat to Ukraine: How Mashable is expanding beyond gadgets and apps. Retrieved from

Media traffic numbers were found on their respective sites.


UPDATE: Sadly, Brook died on May 9. She led an epic 20-year life and left behind a million memories. She is missed more than words can say.

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3 thoughts on “Brook has the scoop

  1. I count myself fortunate to live in a city where there are still two competing newspapers available on a daily basis. They are both well-loved and read. Even so, both are on the endangered list. Neither have the robust amount of content that they once had–what I call “real journalism” where a reporter does the work and writes a story rather than filling a few lines of copy to match a sensational headline churned out by clever editors. One of these newspapers is a Murdoch-owned, British-style tabloid with large headlines that feature crime, celebrities, sports stars, and scandals written at about the 3rd grade level. This low-brow, right-wing daily can hardly be considered with the all-time great newspapers. Its all about lowest-common denominator emotion and doesn’t challenge, inform, or stretch the reader. The other daily covers issues–local, national, and international and it does seek to intelligently engage and inform around issues across the spectrum. However, I have seen this one get skinnier, more expensive ($3.50), and you can hardly get to the real newspaper because the ads are so cleverly interspersed and wrapped around the sections. Its an exasperating exercise of sifting the wheat from the chaff and often I just don’t have the time or energy. More than 50% of the bulk is taken up with cars or real estate. I don’t buy a newspaper in order to fill my recycle bin. I do have to admit that there is something satisfying about sitting down with a real newspaper, interacting with a real reporter honestly covering a real story with as many column inches as the story needs. I mourn that loss. Somehow, having my phone go “ding” a minute after a plane falls off the radar doesn’t compare.

  2. First of all, love that you brought your dog into it. Brook is adorable and I can’t believe she’s 20! Second, I am definitely the new type of news consumer. I receive daily emails from Mashable and BuzzFeed. If I search a topic and one of those sites has a story, I will most likely click that link. I like the way the news is delivered in a less pretentious manner, if that makes sense.

  3. Ron,

    Brook’s sweet face is what made me want to read this post! My Siberian Husky, Kodiak, is very good at chewing, but not fetching, the newspaper. Like you, I get my news via social media, specifically Facebook. I typically listen to the news on TV while I get ready for work each day. It is surprising how often I recognize what I’m hearing on my local news station. It is familiar to me because I already saw it posted on Facebook by the new station’s page.

    According to on how news stations should use social media, “In addition to breaking news, television stations have embraced Facebook and Twitter in recent years to keep viewers up-to-date with story developments between news broadcasts. Now, they are expanding to additional platforms to share content. WGCL-TV (CBS) in Atlanta, like many TV news outlets across the country, produces a mini-newscast each morning that is sent directly to viewers’ cell phones. Stories are about 15 seconds long and include the day’s weather and top stories.”

    This article also mentions an Oklahoma station’s tornado app which shows alerts, maps, disaster preparedness and checklists. A news station in LA began working with a user-generated traffic app (Waze) when a freeway was shut down and “now all ABC owned TV stations partner with Waze according to Rebecca Campbell, president of ABC Owned TV Stations.”

    Social media is a great way for news stations to reach people, especially Millennials. I discuss how to reach young adults in one of my blogs you can find here:

    Thank you, Ron, I enjoyed your post!

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