A news agency is an organization that gathers news reports and sells them to subscribing news organizations, such as newspapers, magazines and radio and television broadcasters. A news agency may also be referred to as a wire service, newswire, or news service.
Although there are many news agencies around the world, three global news agencies, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, have offices in most countries of the world and cover all areas of information. All three began with and continue to operate on a basic philosophy of providing a single objective news feed to all subscribers; they do not provide separate feeds for conservative or liberal newspapers. Jonathan Fenby explains the philosophy:
Only a few large newspapers could afford bureaus outside their home city.
In the 1830s, France had several specialized agencies.
The development of the telegraph in the 1850s led to the creation of strong national agencies in England, Germany, Austria and the United States.
In the United States, the judgment in Inter Ocean Publishing v. Associated Press facilitated competition by requiring agencies to accept all newspapers wishing to join. As a result of the increasing newspapers, the Associated Press was now challenged by the creation of United Press Associations in 1907 and International News Service by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst in 1909.
Driven by the huge U.S. domestic market, boosted by the runaway success of radio, all three major agencies required the dismantling of the "cartel agencies" through the Agreement of 26 August 1927.
After the Second World War, the movement for the creation of national agencies accelerated, when accessing the independence of former colonies, the national agencies were operated by the State.
In 1924, Benito Mussolini placed Agenzia Stefani under the direction of Manlio Morgagni, who expanded the agency's reach significantly both within Italy and abroad. Agenzia Stefani was dissolved in 1945, and its technical structure and organization were transferred to the new Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). Wolffs was taken over by the Nazi regime in 1934, and Reuters continues to operate as a major international news agency today. In 1865, Reuter and Wolff signed agreements with Havas's sons, forming a cartel designating exclusive reporting zones for each of their agencies within Europe.
Since the 1960s, the major agencies were provided with new opportunities in television and magazine, and news agencies delivered specialized production of images and photos, the demand for which is constantly increasing.
News agencies can be corporations that sell news (e.g., Press Association, Thomson Reuters and United Press International). Other agencies work cooperatively with large media companies, generating their news centrally and sharing local news stories the major news agencies may choose to pick up and redistribute (i.e., Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse (AFP) or American Press Agency (APA)) and Indian Press Agency PTI.
Governments may also control news agencies: China (Xinhua), France (Agence France-Presse), Russia (TASS), and several other countries have government-funded news agencies which also use information from other agencies as well.
The major news agencies generally prepare hard news stories and feature articles that can be used by other news organizations with little or no modification, and then sell them to other news organizations.
News sources, collectively, described as alternative media provide reporting which emphasizes a self-defined "non-corporate view" as a contrast to the points of view expressed in corporate media and government-generated news releases. Internet-based alternative news agencies form one component of these sources.
There are several different associations of news agencies.
List of major news agencies
List of commercial newswire services
- ABN Newswire
- African Press Organization
- Business Wire
- CNW Group
- CSRWire Canada
- Japan Corporate News Network
- Newsfile Corp.
- PR Newswire
- PR Web
- Korea Newswire