According to a study cited in a recent post, the claim that social media can break news faster than newswires may not be entirely correct. In fact, while Twitter may beat the wires sometimes, it usually follows wire services.

The study followed 27 major news events in 2011, and the newswires led Twitter 15 times, while Twitter led eight times. The two broke the remaining four stories at the same time. Twitter tended to beat the wires when it came to news related to sports or natural disasters.

When it comes to smaller news stories, the wires beat Twitter by a wide margin, with Twitter only leading the wires one percent of the time. When it comes to coverage of events that concern a small, localized market however, Twitter provides more in-depth coverage on this type of event or story.

This led researchers to believe that Twitter and other social media may be best suited for hyper-localized news and events such as community policing, local search and hyper-local news. While crowd-sourced news is far from dead, its role seems to becoming more defined.