Social Media Surpassing Media Outlets as Primary News Sources Based on Infographic

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Social media platforms are gaining ground on traditional outlets such as television and newspapers as a top source for breaking news. Some of the biggest news stories of 2011 -- from the royal wedding announcement to Osama bin Laden's death -- were first reported on social media. A new infographic from takes a closer look at social media as a news source, including where people get their information online and whether fast news is factual news.

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When there's a breaking news story, people turn to Facebook instead of CNN. It's remarkable., a definitive digital resource for education, released an infographic exploring how social media is transforming news consumption in the U.S. Nearly 30 percent of Americans regularly turn to social media for information on current events, according to "That's old news! How social media is replacing traditional journalism as a news source.”

A 2012 report from the research firm Ask Your Target Market found that more than half of Americans have seen breaking news on a social media site before hearing about it via traditional news outlets. The most popular social media network for news was Facebook, with 55 percent of Americans reporting that they have used the network as a news source.

"The way that people -- especially young people -- consume information has changed dramatically," said Seth Restaino, spokesperson for "When there's a breaking news story, people turn to Facebook instead of CNN. It's remarkable."

Although social media empowers individuals to report news stories more quickly than traditional media organizations, the infographic also illustrates how the lower barriers to publishing may result also in lower quality news reporting.

"In addition to highlighting interesting insights about the way social media is used as a news source, the infographic points out the fundamental flaw: reliability," said Restaino. "When it comes to being reliable, traditional news sources clearly trump social media."

For news related to this infographic and other information about online schooling and education news, follow on Pinterest and @SchoolsEdu on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

About is a definitive source for education, connecting students and prospective students with the right information, people and schools to help them advance in life. Featuring in-depth sections with faculty interviews, campus tours and national education news, the site aims to be a hub for higher education topics and trends. is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit

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Brita Muller
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