Neither newswires nor Twitter was faster than the other in breaking high-profile news.
Mainstream media has still been first in offering people fresh major news stories, beating social networking sites including Twitter, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow developed a software algorithm that tracks Twitter activity and studied about 51 million tweets for 11 weeks and compared them with the output from major news websites for the same period.
During the research, scientists tracked news sites including the BBC, CNN, Reuters and the New York Times, which try to set the news agenda and break news stories in competition.
However, the microblobging site outperformed conventional news sources with news related to sports and disasters, while also tended to be of interest to niche audiences and offered minor local news items that were not covered by the mainstream media.
Research lead Dr Miles Osborne said that Twitter and traditional news outlets each have their strengths in terms of delivering news.
"Twitter can bring added value by spreading the word on events that we might not otherwise hear about, and for bringing local perspectives on major news items," Osborne said.