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The first thing that came to my mind was an event like this would makes the headlines very quick. But after checking on Google, I realized there were 0 results. So, obviously I was wrong.

What's the right expression for a case like this?

  • I'd also point out that strictly quick is an adjective - not an adverb - so you should say "makes the headlines very quickly". – TrevorD Oct 4 '13 at 21:23
  • I found one: hit the headlines immediately is that a common one? – janoChen Oct 5 '13 at 1:03
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    "scoop of the century" ~40k hits – Mazura May 27 '15 at 0:36
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"Viral news" or "has gone viral"

Many people refer to this as news that spreads very quickly on television, and especially on the internet.

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We can say that someone or something steals the limelight.

Definition of Limelight:

The center of public attention, interest, observation, or notoriety.

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Related terms include
overnight sensation, narrowly defined in urbandictionary with “When a certain unknown person becomes famous in a supposedly short amount of time, usually a day or a week”, but in general referring to anything suddenly newsworthy
instant celebrity, “someone who becomes a celebrity in a very short period of time”
flash in the pan, “A transient occurrence with no long-term effect”

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In the olden days (pre-Internet), one would say an event stole the headlines -- i.e., became immediately newsworthy. It has a decidedly old-school ring to it, but maybe it works for the Internet era, too.

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When something is used to describe a big event that is unexpected, the news channels usually say it is breaking news.

And I hate to throw a google search, but you can easily see that almost every major news organization has a breaking news page/section.

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