The defining characteristic of the newsroom is the steady sound of dispatch traffic from the police scanner. The newspaper in turn dispatches reporters to cover incidents of note, and relies on its proprietary access to this information to make decisions about what to consider news.
In the presence of internet-ready scanner rebroadcasting systems like Radio Reference, which offers listeners the opportunity to listen to scanner traffic worldwide, the newsroom editor no longer has a proprietary edge on hearing the news first compared to everyone else tuned in. They may have more context of the local situation, more access to people in positions of leadership, or more ability to get someone on the street to see something interesting, but they are not there first on the scene with exclusive coverage.
Last night, over ten thousand people listened in live and in real time as a hostage situation in Grand Rapids, Michigan came to a violent end over the police scanner. Everyone listening heard it first hand, before the news media had a chance to interpret it for them.
The best account of listening to the scanner is Mark W. Smith's Detroit Free Press piece, "Online police scanner an eerie window into gunman's standoff", which paints a vivid picture of what it was like to be in a newsroom listening to scanner traffic from hundreds of miles away. In contrast, Nathan Bomey's piece "Grand Rapids murders terrorize, but Jennifer Granholm tweeting about her new Chevy Volt" is noteworthy primarily for not sounding like it was written with the scanner going in the background – because if you were paying attention to what was happening in Grand Rapids while it was happening, you'd never even have noticed that some people weren't yet tuned in yet.