Tweet all about it: Twitter can't replace newswires, study shows

Jul 05, 2013

News agencies continue to have an edge over Twitter in being first with the news, a study found.

Research into reporting of news events by Twitter and newswire services has found that while Twitter can sometimes break news before newswires, for major events there is little evidence that it can replace traditional news outlets.

Twitter's main benefits for news are bringing additional coverage of events, and for sharing news items of interest to niche audiences or with a short lifespan, such as local sports results.

Scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow developed a to track Twitter activity. They used it to study 51 million over 11 weeks in summer 2011 and compared these with output from news outlets for the same period. Newswires tracked included the BBC, CNN, Reuters and the New York Times, which seek to set the news agenda and break news stories ahead of one another.

Scientists were able to examine Twitter messages relating to major news items. They also identified a large amount of minor news items that had featured on Twitter but had been ignored by the .

Neither Twitter nor newswires was regularly faster than the other in breaking high-profile news, but when Twitter outperformed newswires for speed, it was for mainly for sport and disaster-related events, their findings showed.

The study, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is to be presented at the 7th International AAAI Conference On Weblogs And Social Media, in Boston, US, next week.

Dr Miles Osborne, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, who led the study, said: "Twitter and traditional news outlets each have their strengths in terms of delivering news. However, Twitter can bring added value by spreading the word on events that we might not otherwise hear about, and for bringing local perspectives on major news items."

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Related Stories

Yahoo! adds tweets to online news pages

May 16, 2013

Yahoo! on Thursday began spicing up its online news pages with real-time comments fired off at the globally popular messaging service Twitter.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

geokstr
1 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2013
Twitter is more of a reactive medium. How many twitterers actually have something to say that isn't simply a reaction to something that comes out first in the "unbiased", "objective" "news" media? Most of them in fact are re-Tweets.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.