Twitter v. Traditional Media: Who Breaks Stories First?

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    Report sheds light on heated race

    A new study has revealed that, contrary to what many believe, major news websites and Twitter are neck and neck when it comes to breaking high-profile stories.

    The UK’s Metro has more details:

    The research by the University of Edinburgh shows Twitter brought ‘added value’ by providing ‘local perspectives on major news items’.

    Dr Miles Osborne, who led the work, said: ‘Twitter and traditional news outlets each have their strengths in terms of delivering news.

    ‘In contrast to popular belief, our results show that neither stream consistently reports on breaking news first. Indeed, traditional newswire sources often report events before Twitter.

    What the study didn’t investigate is the thing that’s sent a growing number of mainstream news outlets into crisis management mode, namely the lapse of fact-checking and other traditional journalistic ethics considerations that has occurred in the rush to beat social media to print.

    The precise roles that social media and traditional news outlets should play remains a hot topic, but perhaps studies like this one will help the organizations involved determine who should be reporting on what, and how.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]