This category covers establishments primarily engaged in furnishing news, pictures, and features and in supplying news reporting services to newspapers and periodicals. Separate establishments of newspaper and periodical publishers that are engaged in gathering news are classified as auxiliaries.
As of 2006, there were 1,250 establishments classified as news syndicates employing more than 13,800 people with combined industry sales reaching $657 million. In addition to the broad coverage of mainstream wire services, organizations within the news syndicates category cover specialized areas such as regional news services (Panafrican News Agency and Macedonian Press Agency), industry-specific services (Computer Wire and International Business News Service),and government information (Federal News Service and Capitol Newswire), to name a few.
The genesis of U.S. news syndicates can be traced to the construction of the first successful telegraph line in 1844. When completed, the line connected the cities of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore and was utilized immediately by newspapers in Washington, D.C., as a means of receiving news of the Maryland State Convention in Baltimore. As more lines were constructed, more and more newspaper publishers recognized this new communications technology as a valuable means of receiving news from distant locations. It was through the efforts of newspaper publishers to share access to the telegraph lines, and to share the costs associated with using the new technology as a news gathering tool that news syndicates came into being.
The National Associated Press (AP) was a collective formed in 1897 by various city, state, and regional Associated Press units. AP bylaws allowed its members to refuse association membership to applicants whose newspapers were located in the same city as those members (a practice that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1945 held to be an illegal restraint of competition). By 1907, there was a growing pool of newspapers that was denied membership into AP, including most of the newspapers owned by E.W. Scripps. That year, Scripps challenged the AP monopoly on national news brokering by establishing the United Press Association, a commercial venture which, after taking over William Randolph Hearst's International News Service in 1958, would go on to become United Press International (UPI).
During the 1960s and...