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Learned From the News

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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.


Usually, this will also shock the subject's friends or relatives who also learn from the news. Sometimes, however, they may learn from the news before the subject does and may try hiding it (whether the news itself, or the broadcast) from said subject, either for good or ill reasons.

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. Dangerous examples may overlap with Endangering News Broadcast.



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    Comic Books 
  • Red Robin: Tim gets a shock when Damian shoves a newspaper declaring Tim is engaged to Tam Fox under his nose. In this case, it was Tim's family (mostly just Damian, Dick found the whole thing hilarious) that was upset, thinking he'd gone and gotten engaged without telling them. In truth Tam panicked and told Vicky Vale they were engaged in response to the reporter's questions about what they were hiding and Tim's not actually engaged to anyone.

    Films — Animated 
  • WALLE: 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 at having been handled this way while in hibernate mode, 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Discussed and averted in Defence Of The Realm. Vernon's editor tells Vernon he should tell MP Dennis Markham about the story that's going to appear about him in the newspaper the next day, so Markham doesn't have to read about it first. Vernon is not happy about this but goes along.


    Live Action TV 
  • In the mini-series on The Atlanta Child Murders, the family of one murder victim discovers their child has been murdered when a TV crew turns up to interview them. Their reaction is, unsurprisingly: Get Out!!

  • 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 bribe a psychiatrist into declaring him sane. He left his hench-girl Harley Quinn behind in Arkham Asylum, 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 President Michelle Bachelet, 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.
  • From the next year of the same administration, Rex Tillerson found out he was fired as Secretary of State from the White House's Twitter posts.


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