The social networking boom -- fueled by the rise in use of mobile devices -- has made its way into mainstream reporting in a big way.

Let's use LeBron James signing with the Miami Heat as an example.

Twitter and Facebook both played a major role in how the story unfolded, almost in real time.

In the days leading up to James' announcement, reporters spent hours watching Twitter feeds and Facebook posts.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were tweeting away about where they were and what teams they were talking to as they traveled to various cities.

Meanwhile, at LBJ headquarters in Cleveland, a large group of reporters kept us posted on who King James was meeting with and what both camps were saying.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated and USA Today reporters tweeted their latest inside information on the progress of the trio.

ESPN TV and radio reported using sources from Twitter.

Meanwhile, a number of reporters used Facebook and Twitter (my colleagues at The Washington Examiner and I included) to share information, gather quotes and compare notes.

To end two-thirds of the Big Three free agency suspense, Wade confirmed via Twitter that both he and Bosh were headed to Miami.

ESPN then said the duo would make the announcement on a special edition of "SportsCenter."

To wrap it all up, when James made his announcement on his ESPN special, again the tweets came streaming in and provided instant reaction from reporters and fans alike.

In the new age of reporting, the ability to use Twitter, Facebook and text messaging does not replace making phone calls or checking sources.

It has, however, allowed us more access to people than ever before.

The media business has changed as most newsrooms have downsized and have less money to spend on research and travel, so pooling resources has been critical in the age of new media.

My 1,200 Facebook resources and 1,500 Twitter feed sources have served me well over the past few months.

While there is still a need to use old-fashioned standards, we are in an age where we can get the story to the reader better and faster -- and that's not a bad thing.

Editor's note: As luck would have it, as Jim was sitting down to write, he lost power at his home. So he used his Windows Mobile smartphone to write and file his column -- showing further how journalism is becoming more dependent on mobile media.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!