What Is a Newswire?

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In today’s global news industry, the newswire plays an essential role in the daily dissemination of content to media outlets.

What Is a Newswire?

The term “newswire” refers to a company or service that facilitates the distribution of news and information一mostly from organizations一to media outlets. For public relations (PR) and communications professionals, it is the vehicle for the timely delivery of press releases to broad and diverse audiences they would otherwise struggle to reach.

There are hundreds of newswires that vary by the quantity and type of media outreach conducted. Mainstream newswires usually provide distribution to a combination of national and international media outlets, while others specialize in language and culture (Latinx Newswire) or interest (Pop Culture Newswire).

Sometimes, a news agency is also called a newswire. A news agency is an organization that investigates, writes, aggregates, and distributes news to downstream news outlets. The Associated Press and Reuters are two global examples.


A History of the Newswire

The formal distribution of news has been around for thousands of years. There’s the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek dispatch runner who in 490 BCE sprinted from the fields of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the invading Persian army. American revolutionary Paul Revere’s ride in 1775 is another example. He alerted the patriots the British were on their way to lay siege.

Fast forward 131 years to 1906, when American publicity expert (and celebrated founder of modern public relations) Ivy Lee created the first press release. After a railroad accident involving his client, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Lee drafted a version of events from his client’s point of view and proactively distributed it to journalists.

Since then, press release distribution has evolved in tandem with technological advancement. While telegraph machines had been around during Lee’s time, it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that they were used to transmit press releases over telegraph wires. This was when the term “newswire” was coined. 

Today, distribution by newswires is highly automated and often accomplished via an electronic interface with news outlet editorial systems. This enables releases to appear directly in news feeds, websites, or news apps. Email is also used to distribute releases一especially for direct outreach to journalists.

And while distribution technology has matured, the process for the PR pro has essentially remained the same. With most newswires, it involves forwarding a press release to a newswire, having it reviewed and edited by a newswire editor, and having the newswire distribute it to the media. See “How to Distribute a Press Release” for more detail.


Benefits of Using a Newswire  

Utilizing a newswire helps PR pros reach large and diverse audiences quickly and efficiently. In addition, it enables the simultaneous distribution of information一an essential feature for the legal release of public company financial information. “Why Public Companies Prefer News Direct for Press Release Distribution” provides more on this topic.

Newswires often rely on professional relationships with media outlets to accept their content. Without the services of a newswire, a PR professional would have to develop and maintain such connections themselves, which can be time consuming, inefficient, and unscalable.

Many newswires also provide users metrics on their press release distribution performance. This, too, is hard to measure without a newswire or separate, third-party, media-monitoring service. For more about press release metrics, see “How Do I Measure the Success of My Press Release?”


Disadvantages of Using a Newswire  

For all of their benefits, newswires can also have drawbacks. These can include ineffective or limited distribution, constraints on using embedded images or other multimedia, limited performance metrics, delays in distribution, or high costs. 

Security of pre-public information can also be a challenge. Human newswire editors review and edit draft press releases before approval for distribution. While there’s no evidence to suggest editors would intentionally share or use sensitive information, the opportunity for unintentional leaks is always present, especially in our new work from home (WFH) world. See “The Importance of Security in Financial Press Release Distribution” for more information on newswire security.


News Direct Has Reimagined the Traditional Newswire

News Direct, a relative newcomer to the newswire space, has reimagined the newswire service. Conceived and launched by industry veterans, News Direct offers an end-to-end content creation and distribution solution made for modern media consumption preferences, and mitigates many of the issues related to mainstream legacy newswires.

With News Direct, PR pros can create, collaborate on, and control content from a ground-breaking, self-directed online platform called the Content Studio. Industry-leading protection supported by cloud isolation technology and advanced encryption protocols helps keep sensitive pre-distribution information secure from hacks, leaks, or data breaches. In addition, no human third-party editing is required. When the user is ready, real-time or scheduled distribution occurs directly from the Content Studio with the press of a button. 

News Direct also benefits from the established industry relationships of its team members, which enables access to some of the world’s most desired and visited news sites. Distribution reach extends to international and national news outlets, media agencies, trade press, customizable niche media, hyper-targeted outlets and individuals, and journalist lists.  

With News Direct’s best-in-class platform, the user can also distribute multimedia such as video, images, or infographics directly to the media on a standalone basis—without embedding them into a news release. And according to News Direct’s June 2019 Market Assessment Study, 86% of journalists find standalone media appealing.

After distribution, the user can also track and measure results of the most relevant categories, via News Direct’s analytics portal. Easily shareable formats are available for exclusive earned media reporting and detailed visibility and engagement metrics.

Finally, News Direct offers these capabilities and more using a flat-rate, predictable pricing model for a fraction of what mainstream newswires charge.

Contact News Direct to schedule a demo of its proprietary, best-in-class capabilities, and transform your press release distribution today.