Created By: Lightblade on June 13, 2017 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 24, 2017
Troped

Learned From The News

Receiving personal news from a public source.

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Alice has just has just received some very important news. But this shocking revelation didn't come from any of her friends. No, she learned about it from the same place everyone else gets their news.

This is when a character learns some important and personal information about themselves or their circumstances from a public source such as a newspaper or News Broadcast. It is usually not a pleasant experience for the character, which is why, in Real Life, responsible government agencies try to contact and inform people of very bad news (such as the death of a relative) directly before releasing the news to the press. When the news Alice hears this way is bad, she not only has the shock of the revelation itself to deal with, but also that her associates kept her in the dark about it. Her "friends" didn't give any more consideration to keeping her in the loop than they did to random strangers!

Alice's friends might have meant well and didn't want to hurt her feelings by being the Bearer of Bad News, but ended up passing the buck between each other for so long that it stopped at the news media. It could mean that Alice's associates don't care about her as much as she thought they did. At worst, this could be a clue that they are actively plotting against her.

See also Coincidental Broadcast. While a Coincidental Broadcast is about the characters learning information important to advancing the plot in general, this trope deals with someone getting news of a personal nature from the news media, something the other people or agencies close to the character knew about already but for some reason or other never bothered to tell them personally before it became public.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Animated 

    Literature 

    Theater 
  • In Hamilton, Alexander cheats on his wife, Eliza, with a woman named Maria Reynolds. After admitting to his three worst political rivals that he cheated on his wife and paid Maria's husband to cover it up he decides that they can't humiliate him by revealing what they know if he reveals it first. This stunning logic ends in him publishing "The Reynolds Pamphlet", in which he confesses everything about the affair to the general public. He does NOT bother telling Eliza about any of this before publishing it.
    Eliza: You published the letters she wrote you... In clearing your name, you have ruined our lives

    Web Animation 
  • The Dorkly Originals sketch "Vision Wants to Be in the Avengers Movie" has Vision showing up on the set asking when he'll be needed. When Iron Man sheepishly tells him that he's not in the movie at all, Vision says the following:
    Vision: How about that? At least you told me personally. It would have sucked to - oh, I don't know - have seen it on Ain't It Cool News this morning. By myself.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode Joker's Millions, The Joker has inherited a large sum of money from a former criminal rival and has used some of it to get himself freed from Arkham Asylum. He left his hench-girl Harley Quinn behind, but she is confident he'll come back for her ... until Poison Ivy shows her the newspaper she'd been reading.
    Harley: "Joker seeks new hench-girl?" I'LL KILL HIM!!!!!
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "World Wide Wabbit", the friends try to keep Mr. Herriman from finding out that Bloo secretly recorded him doing a dance for Madame Foster, released the footage onto the Internet and is now viral. When Frankie sees a picture of Herriman in the newspaper, a game of Keep Away ensues to prevent him from seeing it; eventually, Eduardo eats the paper and Wilt suggests that he watch the news on TV. Unfortunately, the station's news team is in front of the house to do an interview — and they're live!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1" opens with Twilight getting a public announcement and invitation to her brother's wedding. This is the first she's heard about her brother's engagement, so she's not amused.
    Twilight: Yeah, great news. That I just got from a wedding invitation! Not from my brother, but from a piece of paper! Thanks a lot, Shining Armor. I mean, really, he couldn't tell me personally?

    Real Life 
  • In Chile, there were various financial scandals that involved Sebastian Davalos, the son of Michelle Bachelet (actual president), between 2014 and 2015, that were revealed by the press. During that time, when Ms. Bachelet was asked by the subject, she only responded: "I was informed by the press." This scandal, known as "Caval Case"note , is one of the reasons why Chilean citizens haven't trusted Bachelet since then.note 
  • In 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey learned he had been fired from a TV news report announcing his dismissal, and mistook it for a prank until his staff ushered him to a private room to inform him of his firing officially.

Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • June 13, 2017
    TyeDyeWildebeest
    The Dorkly Originals sketch "Vision Wants to Be in the Avengers Movie" has Vision showing up on the set asking when he'll be needed. When Iron Man sheepishly tells him that he's not in the movie at all, Vision says the following:
    Vision: How about that? At least you told me personally. It would have sucked to - oh, I don't know - have seen it on Ain't It Cool News this morning. By myself.
  • June 13, 2017
    hundredhectarewood
    In Hamilton, Alexander cheats on his wife, Eliza, with a woman named Maria Reynolds. After admitting to his three worst political rivals that he cheated on his wife and paid Maria's husband to cover it up he decides that they can't humiliate him by revealing what they know if he reveals it first. This stunning logic ends in him publishing "The Reynolds Pamphlet", in which he confesses everything about the affair to the general public. He does NOT bother telling Eliza about any of this before publishing it. Eliza: You published the letters she wrote you... In clearing your name, you have ruined our lives
  • June 13, 2017
    Getta
    "but also that her associates kept her in the dark about it. Her "friends" didn't give any more consideration to keeping her in the loop than they did to random strangers!

    Alice's friends might have meant well and didn't want to hurt her feelings by being the Bearer of Bad News, but ended up passing the buck between each other for so long that it stopped at the news media. It could mean that Alice's associates don't care about her as much as she thought they did. At worst, this could be a clue that they are actively plotting against her. "

    Lol what is the real trope here, everyone trying to keep someone in a loop or getting info from public source?
  • June 13, 2017
    Koveras
  • June 14, 2017
    Arivne
    Add to the end of the Description:

    This is why, in Real Life, responsible government agencies try to contact and inform people of very bad news (such as the death of a relative) directly before releasing the news to the press.
  • June 14, 2017
    Getta
    Please answer my question...
  • June 14, 2017
    Basara-kun
    Real life examples count? If that so, then I got you one very interesting:
    • In Chile, there was various financial scandals that involved Sebastian Davalos, the son of Michelle Bachelet (actual president), between 2014 and 2015 that were revealed by the press. In that time, when Ms. Bachelet was asked by the subject, she only responsed: "I was informed by the press." This scandal, known as "Caval Case"note , is one of the reasons why Chilean citizens don't trust Bachelet since then.note 
  • June 14, 2017
    hszmv1
    • A twist on this Trope in Breaking Bad. When Hector kills Gus, the next scene shows Walter White, who has been conspiring with Hector, sitting in his car in an empty parking lot and listening to a local radio show. The news breaks of an explosion in a retirement home and Walter drives off to hide his culpability in Gus operations.
  • June 14, 2017
    Lightblade
    I've added some of the examples, and the note about Real Life agencies trying to avert it (in the middle of the second paragraph.

    I don't think the Breaking Bad example counts. I haven't seen the show to know the full context, but If Walter was in on the plot to kill Gus, then he would already have known about it before the broadcast, and can't have been surprised by something he himself helped set into motion.
  • June 14, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends: In "World Wide Wabbit", the friends try to keep Mr. Herriman from finding out that Bloo secretly recorded him doing a dance for Madame Foster, released the footage onto the Internet and is now viral. When Frankie sees a picture of Herriman in the newspaper, a game of Keep Away ensues to prevent him from seeing it; eventually, Eduardo eats the paper and Wilt suggests that he watch the news on TV. Unfortunately, the station's news team is in front of the house to do an interview — and they're live!
  • June 15, 2017
    Getta
    Hey OP, I ask again: is this about learning stuff from newspaper in general (like Taught By Television) or "getting personal news from public media"?

    Either way, the "friends keeping it a secret" angle is unnecessary and should DIAF.
  • June 17, 2017
    MetaFour
    Web Video:
    • In Scootertrix The Abridged, when Equestria's war against King Sombra isn't going so well, Princess Celestia leaves the capital to help the army from the front lines. In Episode 22, Celestia returns from the front lines—and goes directly to Ponyville to have a tea party. Princess Luna is pissed that Celestia didn't tell her that she was returning.
      Luna: I am your sister!
      Celestia: ...Yeah?
      Luna: Why was I the last pony to find out about this?
  • June 17, 2017
    Lightblade
    Just added the Foster's example. I don't have enough context to be sure if Scootertrix would. It would depend on how Luna found out about the tea party. If she found out from Celestia just showing up in person unannounced, then it wouldn't be from a public source and therefore wouldn't.
  • June 17, 2017
    Getta
    Oh wow, I'm ignored...
  • June 17, 2017
    Skylite
    Not ignored, Getta. The examples are answering your question. And the "friends keeping it a secret" is simply a possible variation on why Alice only found out via the news. Also, what is with this fascination with things dying in fires?
  • June 18, 2017
    Getta
    Then the title "learned from the newspaper" is vague. Maybe "Personal News From Public Source" or something along those lines.

    "Friends keeping it a secret" is already a trope: Locked Out Of The Loop.

    You want things to die in deep waters instead?
  • June 18, 2017
    Getta
    And the description say "But this shocking revelation didn't come from any of her friends" as if it's a hard and important part of the trope when it isn't.
  • June 18, 2017
    MetaFour
    @Lightblade: It's never specified exactly how Luna learned, but it's definitely not from Celestia herself. Later in that conversation, Luna says, "Normal ponies tell their families whether or not they're alright!"
  • June 18, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    Real life example:

    • In 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey learned he had been fired from a TV news report announcing his dismissal, and mistook it for a prank until his staff ushered him to a private room to inform him of his firing officially.
  • June 19, 2017
    MetaFour
    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1" opens with Twilight getting an invitation to her brother's wedding. This is the first she's heard about her brother's engagement, so she's not amused.
      Twilight: Yeah, great news. That I just got from a wedding invitation! Not from my brother, but from a piece of paper! Thanks a lot, Shining Armor. I mean, really, he couldn't tell me personally?
  • June 20, 2017
    Lightblade
    Added the above two examples. I haven't seen the My Little Pony episode in question, but I've seen The Crystal Empire, so I know the bride is a princess. Since this is a royal wedding, I'm assuming it's a public event and that passing out the invitations is doubling as a public announcement. Is that right? If it is, then it would count.
  • June 20, 2017
    Skylite
    ^ Yes, Lightblade, it's a public announcement as well as the sending of the invitations.
  • June 20, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • After Wall E and EVE escape from the Repair Ward of the Axiom, a warning goes out of all public media outlets: "Caution, rogue robots. Caution, rogue robots." A security 'bot still image shows Wall E and EVE grappling with her weaponized arm. EVE is aghast, having sunk from malfunctioning to haywire. EVE glares at poor Wall E and snarls his name, causing Wall E to cower like a Henpecked Husband.
  • June 20, 2017
    Getta
    What do you guys think about my suggestion?
  • June 21, 2017
    LondonKdS
  • June 21, 2017
    Lightblade
    @ Skylite: Thanks. I slightly edited the example to make that more clear.

    @ oneuglybunny: Since I haven't seen Wall-E, I'm not sure how EVE could be unaware of having her arm grappled with. Was she deactivated at the time and that was a Dude Shes Like In A Coma moment? EDIT: Looking at that trope's page confirmed that. Adding it, then.

    I also added a paragraph comparing and contrasting this trope with Coincidental Broadcast.
  • June 24, 2017
    Lightblade
    Looks like we've got enough hats to launch this. I will do so tomorrow.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qcgn3x453c01ou03chkb09td