The Press Association
The Press Association - the British and Irish national news agency - is co-operatively owned by the principal daily newspapers of Britain outside London, and the Irish Republic. It offers national and regional newspapers and broadcasters a comprehensive range of home news - general and parliamentary news, legal reports, and all types of financial, commercial and sports news. It also includes in its services to regional papers the world news from Reuters and Associated Press.
News is sent by satellite from London by the Press Association, certain items being available in Dataformat as camera -ready copy. Its "Newsfile" operation provides general news, sports and foreign news on screen to non-media as well as media clients by means of telephone and view data terminals. The photographic department offers newspapers and broadcasters a daily service of pictures. The News Features service supplies repoerts of local or special interest and grants exclusive rights to syndicated features. It also offers a dial-in graphics facility, as well as extensive cuttings and photograph libraries.
Extel Financial supplies information and services to financial and business communities throughout the world. Based in London, it has a network of offices in Europe and the United States and direct representation in Japan and South-East Asia. Data is collected from all the world's major stock exchanges, companies and the international press. The agency is a major source of reference material on companies and securities. It supplies a full range of data products on international financial matters. Up-to-the-minutes business and company news is bade available by the agency's specialist financial news operations.
The British press and broadcasting organisations are also catered for by Associated Press and United Press International, which are British subsidiaries of United States news agencies. A number of other British, Commonwealth and foreign agencies and news services have offices in London, and there are minor agencies in other city. Syndication of features is not as common in Britain as in some countries, but a few agencies specialise in this type of work.
New Printing Technology
The heavy production costs of newspapers and periodicals continue to encourage publishers to look for ways of reducing these costs, often by using advanced computer system to control editing and production processes. The "Front end" or "single stroking" system, for example, allows journalists or advertising staff to input "copy" directly into video terminal, and then to transform it automatically into computer-set columns of type. Although it is possible for these columns to be assembled electronically on a page-sized screen, turned into a full page, and made automatically into a plate ready for transfer to the printing press, at present very few such systems are in operation. Most involve the production of bromides from the computer setting; there are then pasted up into columns before being places in a plate -making machine.
The most advanced system presents opportunities for reorganisation, which have implications throughout a newspaper office and may give rise to industrial relations problems. Generally, and most recently in the case of national newspapers, the introduction of computerised system has led to substantial reduction in workforces, particularly, but not solely, among print workers.
All the national newspapers use computer technology, and its use in the provincial press, which has generally led the way in adopting news techniques, is widespread. Journalists key articles directly into, and edit them on, computer terminals; colour pictures and graphics are entered into the same system electronically. Where printing plants are at some distance from editorial offices, pages are sent for printing by fax machine from typesetter to print plant. Other technological development include the use of full-colour printing, and a switch from traditional letterpress printing to the web-offset plastic-plate processes.
News International, publisher of the three daily and two Sunday papers, has at its London Docklands headquarters more than 500 computer terminals - one of the largest system installed at one time anywhere in the world. The "Financial Times" opened a new printing plants in Dockland in 1988 with about 200 production workers, compared with the 650 employed at its former printing facility in the City of London. The new Docklands plant of the Associated Newspapers Group uses flexography, a rudder-plate process. Other national papers have also moved into the new computer-based printing plants outside Fleet Street.
Radio and Television
British broadcasting has traditionally been based on the principle that it is a public service accountable to the people through Parliament. Following 1990 legislation, it is also embracing the principles of competition and choice. Three public bodies are responsible for television and radio services throughout
Britain. They are:
1. the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcasts television and radio services;
2. the Independent Television Commission (ITC) licenses and regulates non-BBC television services, including cable and satellite services, and;
3. the Radio Authority licenses and regulates all non-BBC radio services.
Since the 1970s 98% of British households have had television sets able to receive four channels, two put out by the BBC, two by commercial companies. Commercial satellite and cable TV began to grow significantly in 1989 - 1990, and by 1991 the two main companies operating in Britain had joined together as British Sky Broadcasting. By 1991 about one household in ten had the equipment to receive this material.
Every household with TV must by law pay for a license, which costs about the same for a year as a popular newspaper every day.
Unlike the press, mass broadcasting has been subject to some state control from its early days. One agreed purpose has been to ensure that news, comment and discussion should be balanced and impartial, free of influence by government or advertisers. From 1926 first radio, then TV as well, were entrusted to the BBC, which still has a board of governors appointed by the government. The BBC's monopoly was ended in 1954, when an independent board was appointed by the HomeSecretary to give licenses to broadcast ("franchises") to commercial TV companies financed by advertising, and called in general independent television