Good News or Bad News? Alternative Agencies in a Common World (1960s - 1990s)
Since the ‘global sixties’ and their impetus towards integration as well as dissent, an increasing number of media agencies have framed themselves as alternatives to the so-called ‘Big Four’ news agencies from the Global North (Agence France Presse, Reuters, Associated Press and United Press International). These include the Non-Aligned News Agency Pool (NANAP, 1976 - mid-1990s), the Pan-African News Agency (PANA, 1983), Gemini (1967 - 2003), Acción de Sistemas Informativos Nacionales (ASIN, 1976), the Inter-Press Service (IPS, 1964), as well as the West-German Informations-Dienst zur Verbreitung unterbliebener Nachrichten (1973 - 1981).
This project studies the journalists and entrepreneurs setting up these and similar agencies in order to ask what strategies they used in order to make their new kinds of news convincing to new audiences. The narrative arch of histories that exist about such agencies is one of failure, as they never managed to capture a large proportion of the global news market - unlike more recent projects alternative news purveyors such as FOX News (1996), Al-Jazeera (1996), Al Jazeera English (2006) and Russia Today (2005). This project takes such failure as a fascinating entry point into questions about the nature of news that is convincingly positioned as such - how come that such a wide array of efforts to change what counted as good news in the global market was nevertheless rejected from it? Underlying that are questions into the relationship between the world we think we know and the media describing it, as well as the way in which they manage to establish true and alternative facts.
Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
E-Mail: leonie.wolters [at] zzf-potsdam.de