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World news or international news or even foreign coverage is the news media jargon for news from abroad, about a country or a global subject. For journalism, it is a branch that deals with news either sent by foreign correspondents or news agencies, or — more recently — information that is gathered or researched through distance communication technologies, such as telephone, satellite TV or the internet.

Although in most of the English-speaking world this field is not usually regarded as a specific specialization for journalists, it is so in nearly all the world. Particularly in the United States, there is a blurred distinction between world news and "national" news when they include directly the national government or national institutions, such as wars in which the US are involved or summits of multilateral organizations in which the US are a member.

The birth of modern journalism

Actually, at the birth of modern journalism, most news were actually foreign, as registered by the courants of the 17th century in West and Central Europe, such as the Daily Courant (England), the Nieuwe Tijudinger (Antwerp), the Relation (Strasbourg), the Avisa Relation oder Zeitung (Wolfenbüttel) and the Courante Uyt Italien, Duytsland & C. (Amsterdam). Since these papers were aimed at bankers and merchants, they brought mostly news from other markets, which usually meant other nations. In any case, it is worthy to remark that nation-states were still incipient in 17th-century Europe.

From the 19th century on, with newspapers already established in Europe, the United States and a few other countries, innovations in telecommunications such as the telegraph made news from abroad easier to be spread. The first news agencies were then founded, like AFP (France), Reuters (UK), Wolff (currently DPA, Germany) and the AP (USA).

War journalism is one of the best known subfields of world news (although war coverage can be national for the media of belligerent countries themselves).

The role of news agencies

A news agency is an organization of journalists established to supply news reports to news organizations: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. Such an agency may also be referred to as a wire service, newswire or news service. The bulk of major news agency services contains foreign news. The major news agencies generally prepare hard news stories and feature articles that can be used by other news organizations with little or no modification, and then sell them to other news organizations. They provide these articles in bulk electronically through wire services (originally they used telegraphy; today they frequently use the Internet). Corporations, individuals, analysts and intelligence agencies may also subscribe.

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