|The news agency gathers news and news material with the purpose of presenting facts and distributes this to group of news enterprises. Today, India has four main news agencies.
Press Trust of India (PTI): This is the biggest news agency in India. More than 200 newspapers in India subscribe to PTI service, besides AIR, Doordarshan, central and State Governments, commercial establishments, universities and public institutions. It has foreign correspondents in UK, USA, Moscow, Colombo and other world capitals. It has a vast tele printer network, and employs many journalists.
United News Agency (UNI): this is sponsored by eight national dailies. It has correspondents in more than 200 cities and towns and branch offices. It collaborates with foreign news agencies such as in USA, Germany, Italy etc., it has started Weekly Background Service, Agricultural Service, Economic News Service to cater to the special needs of news papers periodicals and other subscribers.
- This is the first multilingual news agency of India.
As early as 1948 Hindustan Samachar was set up by S.S. Apte, the first news agency as a private limited company. The objectives were, to educate the masses to take part in national development and strive for national integration through the promotion of Indian languages. Its unique structural feature was that it was cooperative of those who worked for the agency which rendered it free of government interference as well as control by the newspaper proprietors and supplied news to over 135 subscribers in Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Malayalam.
The agency survives even now in its four regional offices at Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Jalandhar and Patna, where the news of a local or regional significance is supplied by handwritten messages in the respective languages-Oriya, Gujarati, Punjabi and Hindi.
It mainly serves the Indian language press.
The agency, named Samachar Bharati, was registered under the Companies Act in 1962. It, however, took another five year before the agency began its operations from January 1, 1967. Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti, Wardha, took active interest in getting it going and bore the initial expenditure.
Samachar Bharati suffered from the same defect as its rival, Hindustan Samachar, in that it had spread itself far and wide without developing the capacity to pay its own way. Several newspapers were nevertheless among its subscribers and the agency provided services in Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada and Urdu, besides AIR both in Delhi and at the regional centres.
Samachar Bharati had even arrangements for exchange of news with the American UPI to bring world news to its newspaper clients as it strove to provide a complete service to them. Its newsmen also monitored some foreign broadcasting stations and filled the gap of news from neighboring countries. By 1979 it had reactivated its entire old bureau and opened several new ones and had more than 100 subscribers. The agency found that a fourth of the subscribers were exclusively dependent on it for news flow. It operated now in 10 Indian languages- Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu, Bengali, Oriya and Punjabi.
Amongst all these news agencies, PTI and UNI have made a great impact in the distribution of national and international news in India.
Besides these wire agencies, a large number of agencies which deliver news material and articles by hand or mail, like the old established India Press agency, INFA (India News and Feature Alliance), and Press Asia International, and several agencies in Delhi and outside, some, as we will see, in Hindi, Urdu and other languages. There are also photo agencies and a cartographic service. Photo journalism as well as cartoons has developed fast and a news paper can hardly afford to go without either. There are also agencies in the electronic field for the benefit of subscribers at home and abroad.