How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism as a News Source

We are living in the digital information age with nearly half of all Americans get some form of local news on a mobile device, and 46% of people get their news online at least three times a week. What’s more, online news sources officially surpassed print newspapers in ad revenue in 2010. Thanks to online news, we’re getting more breaking news than ever before. And thanks to social media, we’re getting news as it happens—sometimes even before news organizations have a chance to report it.

Are more people turning to social media for breaking news? And can we trust the news that social media delivers to be accurate and factual? Check out this infographic to learn more about the changing face of news delivery and how social media will may end up leading the charge.

social media news source

The Truth About News Sources

  • Over 50% of people have learned about breaking news via social media rather than official news sources.
  • 46% of people get their news online at least 3x a week.
  • As of 2012, online news revenue has surpassed print newspaper revenue.

Where do People Get Their News Overall?

  • 59.5% TV News
  • 28.8% Newspapers
  • 27.8% Social Media
  • 18.8% Radio News
  • 9.5% Other
  • 6% Other Print Publications

With social media accounting for over a quarter of all sources, Facebook leads the way with almost 60% of all news sources, followed by Twitter, (20%)YouTube (12.7%) and Google+ (11.6%). Since 2009 traffic to news sites from social media has increased 57% and 9% of adults who get news on a digital device use Facebook or Twitter to get that news very often.

News Stories That Broke Via Social Media

  • Egyptian uprising via Facebook
  • Hudson River plane crash via Twitter
  • Announcement of the royal wedding via Twitter
  • Protesters killed in Bahrain via YouTube
  • Whitney Houston’s death via Twitter
  • Osama bin Laden raid and death via Twitter – The first person to tweet about the Osama bin Laden raid was a neighbor who, while complaining about the noise next door on Twitter, unknowingly tweeted about one of the biggest news stories of the decade.

What’s Next in Social Media News?

As Mashable points out in a recent op-ed piece:

We’ve already seen attempts at robot journalism that have shown some promise. There may even be things we could learn from companies like Narrative Science, which automatically generate online articles on finance statistics. The days of the Rolodex are also gone. In fact, the Rolodex has been replaced. Public Insight Network, which is a network of sources for journalists as well as a collaboration tool for news organizations, is a step in the right direction. People who want to be sources are able to opt-in and create a profile on the network. It’s essentially a shared, digital Rolodex.

If content is king and distribution is queen, where does that leave the news-gathering process? The very reporting process that produces information for content has been deprived of much needed innovation. There is no silver bullet, but it’s clear that the opportunity lies in investing in distributed reporting, a platform for the citizenry to contribute, and tools that will enable skilled journalists to make sense of the vast amounts of information being generated across the web.

How has social media affected the way you gather news? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism as a News Source
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9 Responses to “How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism as a News Source”

  1. Mu Lin says:

    Interesting infographc, and the topic is so true: I saw pics of the Colorado wildfires on social media networks, and that is citizen journalism in digital era.

  2. Roy says:

    Absolutely Mu, the path information travels in this digital age is remarkable. Speed and efficiency through social channels has never been more efficient. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Excellent article! I still think there is a solid place for “traditional” journalism, but I gotta say: too bad social media wasn’t around when I was getting my journalism degree, or else I would’ve been very tempted to go the social route…

  4. Roy says:

    back in the good old days.. when typewriters meant something :)

  5. [...] week ago I wrote a post on how social media is replacing traditional journalism as a news source and the feedback was interesting to say the least. When I look deeper at how mobile and social [...]

  6. Super data. Another difference I see is in the consumption / delivery model.

    Traditional journalism (news / radio / print) tells you what they want you to know (information flow is controlled by source) where social is on demand on any topic (consumer determines the information flow and pace).

    I find that instead of turning the TV/radio off, I need to turn my own self interests off. Case in point: I found this article via twitter and it is 11:20 pm as I write this. Time for sleep.


  7. Roy says:

    Thanks Chris! Hope you got some sleep last night :)

  8. [...] How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism (06/28/2012) Great infographic showing the changing face of news delivery and how social media may end up leading the charge. Share and Enjoy: [...]

  9. Great infographics. I stopped listening to the news or watching it because it is way to depressing. As you mentioned, Social Media is not the way the news gets around. I know my friends and they know me. We all share things in common, otherwise they wouldn’t be my friend in the first place. So, what I am trying to say is that chances are, the news they find interesting, I would too.

    By using Social Media, I am only getting the news I want to get. I also use my iPhone to have Apps that can give me selective news. For instance, for Tech News, I use an app called Appy Geek. It’s is an amazing tool.

    I agree with Chris above too, traditional media has too much power to edit and censor news, which I know makes a lot of people not trust them. Not that Social Media is more trustworthy, but I feel like at least there is a checks and balances systems with people and that will correct the untrue news. As opposed to Private News Corporations that have total control over the message, as opposed to caring about how accurate the facts are.

    Anyway, thanks a lot again and I hope to one day have a world were news is just news, not politics.

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