But it has pitfalls. There is a political homogeneity to the mass airing of news. In 1955 The Kruglak did a study on AP reporters and found a few things. In that year there were 169 people working in Europe for the three major news services: AP, INS, and UP. Those people constituted 60% of the U.S. press in that region. You can derive your own political revelations about newswriting bias. Kruglak was more concerned that they were inexperienced and poorly paid. (I'm quoting from the book The American Wire Service by Richard Schwarzlose.) His stats were as follows:
- 52% of them were from the American Midwest
- 33% from the East Coast
- 50% were under the age of 36
- 50% were married
- 13% had non-journalistic backgrounds
- 26% had less than 5 years experience
- 60% were on their first foreign assignment
The AP (Associated Press) is the most familiar wire service to most laypeople. It began in 1846. But it's not the oldest, that title goes the AFP (Agence France-Presse) which was founded in 1835. Two early AFP employees went off and founded their own competing services Reuters News Agency in 1851 in London, and Wolffs Telegraphisches Bureau in 1849 in Berlin. You'll notice all of these predate radio by almost a century. These early services were marketed to news papers and the text was delivered by Morse code over telegraph, hence the "wire" in wire service. Below is a short list of available news wires. Some are free, most are not. There is a much more complete list here.
NEWS WIRE SERVICES:
- Collegiate Press Wire: Free radio-friendly weekly feeds via e-mail
- Free Speech Radio News: Daily progressive news Monday - Friday via satellite and download.
- Learfield Communications: Daily feeds of world and national news, weather and sports via satellite feed or e-mail.
- Metro Networks: A daily feed of world, national, state and local news, weather, with en emphassi on traffic. Delivery by satellite or download. Formerly owned by Westwood One now owned by Clear Channel.
- Federal News Service: News of federal law-makers, events, and strong emphasis on transcriptions.
- USA News Network: A daily fax of national/world news, along with news of interest to college students, entertainment news, alternative music news, and national sports.
- The Weather Center: real-time localized weather forecasts via fax or e-mail. Audio segments also available. Note: their website it terrible, but the programming is fine.
- Feature Story News They offer hourly newscasts of five minutes, three minutes and 30 seconds on weekdays and a weekend "week in review" newscast (5:00 and 3:00). Delivery is via mp3 download and cost is $15/month (pay via PayPal!).
- Total Traffic Network: Another traffic -centric Clear Channel property. Don't be surprised if they end up merged this year. Live local traffic feeds, GPS maps etc.
- Reuters America Wire : The world's biggest international multimedia news agency. Soft on local news, but great on international, national and decent coverage of big state events.