AAAI Publications, Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

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Can Twitter Replace Newswire for Breaking News?
Sasa Petrovic, Miles Osborne, Richard McCreadie, Craig Macdonald, Iadh Ounis, Luke Shrimpton

Last modified: 2013-06-28


Twitter is often considered to be a useful source of real-time news, potentially replacing newswire for this purpose. But is this true? In this paper, we examine the extent to which news reporting in newswire and Twitter overlap and whether Twitter often reports news faster than traditional newswire providers. In particular, we analyse 77 days worth of tweet and newswire articles with respect to both manually identified major news events and larger volumes of automatically identified news events. Our results indicate that Twitter reports the same events as newswire providers, in addition to a long tail of minor events ignored by mainstream media. However, contrary to popular belief, neither stream leads the other when dealing with major news events, indicating that the value that Twitter can bring in a news setting comes predominantly from increased event coverage, not timeliness of reporting.


Twitter; Microblog; Event detection; clustering; news; time; lag

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