The Agency Makes the (Online) News World go Round: The Impact of News Agency Content on Print and Online News

Jelle Boumans, Damian Trilling, Rens Vliegenthart, Hajo Boomgaarden


While it is generally acknowledged that news agencies play a pivotal role in the current news landscape, empirical insights into the extent of news media’s reliance on agency copy are scarce. This study applies an innovative automated approach to trace agency copy for an entire year (n = 119,452) in the major print and online news media articles (n = 247,161) of the Dutch news landscape. Results suggest that particularly online news is highly dependent on agency content, with the agency being responsible for up to 75% of the online news articles. Furthermore, a large part of the online news consists of verbatim agency copy, involving little or no editing. The results provide a strong rationale to place news agencies high on the agenda of news production scholars. Moreover, the demonstrated agency domination of online news is alarming in the context of news diversity.


news production, news agency, intermedia agenda setting, churnalism, transparency, automated content analysis, online, print

Full Text: