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The effect Social Media has had on the News Industry.

Social Media is fast becoming the place that people check first thing in the morning, opposed to the old ritual of reading the morning paper with a coffee. This may not be true of the older generation, but for Generation Y and beyond, it's the norm to surf the web looking for the latest news, trends and information.

Information on Social Media can be sent across the globe, in real-time, within seconds. The audience is unlimited. And this real-time information sharing has been changing the way people receive and respond to news in recent years. 

More than ever, people are using Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media platforms to learn more about what is going on in the world, as traditional news outlets such as newspapers and even the TV and becoming increasingly less relevant to the digital generation. 

This has meant that news has become 24 hours a day. It's immediate, and it's available on new platforms. It's accessible to anyone that wishes to view it, and it's become mobile. 

This change in the way people consume the news has it's pros and cons. How do we know what we're viewing on Social Media is factually correct or accurate? How can we trust the sources? It also means that all ages can be exposed to the full details without censorship. There is less of a professional handling on certain stories and the news can now be reported by anyone in the general public. 

On the other hand, it means that we're getting the news from the horses mouth, with eye witnesses and the general public live streaming events that are taking place. It has helped spread the word, people have shared news stories with positive results, whether it's to report a theft or to find a missing person. There are some definite benefits to the sharing of news virally. 

As with all Social Media, you need to have your wits about you. But with the news industry realising that the place to be is online, even news outlets have embraced Social Media as a way to harness viewers, engage the public and get a better feel for each story.

How Journalists use Social Media to their advantage:

1. Newsgathering - it helps them gather and collect better material, and enables them to find a wider range of voices, ideas and eye witnesses quickly. 

2. Audience Engagement - How we listen and talk to our audiences is changing, and Social Media allows the news industry to reach out and interact with people from all walks of life.

3. A platform - It's a great way of getting their journalist work out there. Whether they use it as a tool by creating a website, video content, blog or more, Social Media allows journalists to engage different and younger audiences as well as spread the word about their work.

This is a great example of an industry adapting, changing and becoming flexible to change.

See Mashable's full infographic here.