What Is the Role of News Agencies?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Encyclopedia Britannica states that the role of news agencies is to gather, write and distribute news locally or internationally to newspapers, periodicals, radio broadcasters, television broadcasters, government agencies and other users. Typically, they do not publish news but supply it to subscribers who share costs.

Mass media rely on news agencies for the majority of the news, the Encyclopedia Britannica explains. These agencies take various forms. In large cities, radio, television and newspaper media work together to get routine news coverage about the government offices, police, courts and other topics. National agencies extend the area of such coverage by obtaining and distributing stock market quotations, election reports and sports results. Some agencies include worldwide news, news interpretation, news photographs, special columns, videotapes for television news reports and audiotape recordings for radio broadcast. In the United States, major press associations include entertainment features in their services.

In nearly every exposure to news, audiences see the stories and images provided by news agencies, according to the International Encyclopedia of Communication. The original news agencies first existed from around 1835 and 1850 to fill the increasing demand for stories in the newspaper industry. Later on, news agencies merged with newsreel companies, eventually dominating the distribution of news images as well.