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News Agencies

Chris Paterson


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News agencies are transnational media organizations that write and distribute stories and their components, such as images and interviews, to the news media (→  news ). Audiences see their words and images upon almost every exposure to news, without usually knowing it. The original news agencies formed between 1835 and 1850 to fill the growing newspaper industry demand for stories. They later distributed photographs and eventually merged with newsreel companies or their successors, coming to dominate the distribution of television news images as well (→  News Agencies, History of ). The practices news agencies follow to create the international affairs journalism that the public are exposed to every day is an underresearched area of journalism studies and international communication, perhaps because two research traditions failed to intersect. The sociological tradition began in the 1970s with ethnographic research projects in newsrooms ( Tuchman 1978 ; Gans 1979 ) but declined without extending to news agencies. Also in the 1970s, scholars of international communication subjected previously little-known news agencies to scrutiny as potential agents of cultural imperialism and neo-colonialism (→  Cultural Imperialism Theories ). Their role as the dominant sources of news from developing countries highlighted imbalances in the flow of news and the power of these institutions to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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