World Association of News Publishers

Do daily newspapers want a different service from news agencies?

Do daily newspapers want a different service from news agencies?


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The quantities of information material supplied by the news agencies is growing constantly. Among the reasons for this is that the agencies that are equipped with modern editorial systems can process more news material, and that the use of faster means of communication can get this larger amount of news to the final consumer. Today, news is transmitted at speeds of between 50 and 2400 Baud. When the ISDN network is intro- duced in some years, transmission speeds of up to 64 kbit/s should be possible, for the cost of a normal telephone call. To illustrate the higher speeds: If 80,000 words - which is the average volume of the news supplied by the basic dpa service - are processed at a speed of 300 Baud, the time required will be six hours. Were the same quantity of data to be transmitted via the aforementioned 64kbit/s network, the time required would be no more than 100 seconds. This example is intented to show that, in the future, news agencies will have better possibilities to convey their material to the customer. However, many editorial departments are starting to discover that this greater flood of information is not just a blessing. How is it possible to cope with this greater amount of information when the reviewing and selecting of the received material takes more and more time? On considering this problem, the question arises as to whether the news agencies could help the editorial departments in this task. Instead of automatically supplying the entire news material, two other paths could be pursued: a preselection or compression of the news material. Both could be termed "information on request". In the case of preselection, the agency is informed in advance of the type of material that interests the customer and consequently the type of information that should be supplied. This may also be described as a selective service. With compression of the material, the agency only supplies an abstract. If the abstract arouses the interest of the customer, the full text can be retrieved from the agency. Therefore this is a retrieval service. But is that really what newspaper editors want? That was the basic question to which an IFRA Forum held under the title "Do dairy newspapers want a different service from news agencies?" was to provide an answer.

IFRA Special Report



Jochen Litzinger's picture

Jochen Litzinger


2001-04-03 00:00

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