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, four global news agencies, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP), Reuters and United Press International (UPI) have offices in most countries of the world, cover all areas of information, and provide the majority of international news printed by the world's newspapers. All four 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:
To achieve such wide acceptability, the agencies avoid overt partiality. Demonstrably correct information is their stock in trade. Traditionally, they report at a reduced level of responsibility, attributing their information to a spokesman, the press, or other sources. They avoid making judgments and steer clear of doubt and ambiguity. Though their founders did not use the word, objectivity is the philosophical basis for their enterprises – or failing that, widely acceptable neutrality.
Newspaper syndicates generally sell their material to one client in each territory only, while news agencies distribute news articles to all interested parties.