Critically evaluate the role of the major news agencies in the production and flow of international news.

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As the news media has rapidly developed into a modern, high-tech mass communication industry, it is playing an increasingly important role in different aspects: political, economy, social life, the development and peace between nations. Culture and beliefs flow across territorial boundaries, people in different countries can share ideas and information in ways both formal and informal (such as 'blogs' and the immediate use of mobile phone footage in disasters like the tsunami of 2004 or the London bombs of 2005). The growth of a globe-girdling, time-space conquering galaxy of communication is arguably of epochal importance. (Hugill, 1999) The mass media plays an important role in the process of globalisation since they are among the agents that embody the transcendence of the limitations of space that is a characteristic feature of globalisation. Communications media like the wheel and the press had distance-shrinking effects, but genuinely globalized communication only began with inventions like overland and underwater telegraphy and the early development of Reuters and other international news agencies. (Keane, 2005)

The roles of these news agencies are, the distributors of news to the news companies, the bridge between nation and nation, the window of the world as news agencies set the agenda for what international stories other media choose to carry through the choice of stories they distribute to clients and the amount of visuals provided. The news agencies were among the world's first organizations to operate, not only globally, but to operate globally in the production and distribution of 'consciousness', through the commodification of news, in ways which had very significant implications for our understanding or appreciation of time and of space. News agency news is considered' wholesale' resource material, something that has to be worked upon, smelted, reconfigured, for conversion into a news report that is suitable for consumption by ordinary readers. It has also suited the news agencies to be thus presented: they are needed to seem credible to extensive networks of 'retail' clients of many different political and cultural shades and hues. They have wanted to avoid controversy, to maintain an image of plain, almost dull, but completely dependable professionalism. (Oliver, 1998)

The news agencies have the responsibility to objectively report the truth, and give out good quality news, also, a world-wide coverage, free, well balanced, transparent and equal flow of information. Especially those long standing, large-scale, strong global news agencies in the modern news media:

The four Western news agencies (Associated Press (United States), United Press International (United States), Reuters (United Kingdom), Agence France Presse (French)) which accounted for the dissemination of international news spread around the world 90% of the total. Currently, Xinhua News Agency (China), The Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (Russia), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Germany), and Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (Italy) are also classified as global news agencies.

As these major news agencies have such huge influence, people would wonder, are they really play the role that everyone expect?

First, the coverage. Undoubtedly, these major news agencies have departments spread through the world, mighty editor teams, high quality equipments, advanced communication tools and powerful economic and technological supports can be made to the newspaper, radio, television and other news media and other social communication, provide the most timely, most extensive and effective news and other information services. For example, according to Reuters's 2010 annual report, there are now total more than 55,000 employees in more than 100 countries, almost every major news outlet in the world now subscribes to Reuters'...
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