Inter Press Service

Inter Press Service

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Inter Press Service is a global news agency
News agency
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.-History:The oldest news agency is Agence...

. Its main focus is the production of independent news and analysis about events and processes affecting economic, social and political development
International development
International development or global development is a concept that lacks a universally accepted definition, but it is most used in a holistic and multi-disciplinary context of human development — the development of greater quality of life for humans...

.

The agency has established a niche in the international mediascape
Mediascape
The term mediascape describes the way that visual imagery impacts the world.Such imagery comes from books, magazines, television, cinema, and, above all, advertising that can directly impact the landscape and also subtly influence, through persuasive techniques and an increasingly pervasive...

, not only by providing professional reporting on the Global South, civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

, and globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

, but also by covering topics in a more in-depth way than is common in the mainstream news.

In the opinion of one commentator, "IPS (Inter Press Service) is probably still the largest and most credible of all 'alternatives' in the world of news agencies."

History


Inter Press Service was set up in 1964 as a non-profit
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 international cooperative
Cooperative
A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

 of journalists. Its founders were the Italian journalist Roberto Savio and the Argentine political scientist Pablo Piacentini. Initially, the primary objective of IPS was to fill the information gap between Europe and Latin America after the political turbulence following the Cuban revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 of 1959 (Giffard in Salwen and Garrison, 1991).

Later, the network expanded to include all continents, and extended its editorial focus. In 1994, IPS changed its legal status to that of a "public-benefit organization for development cooperation".

Approach


IPS’s stated aims are to give prominence to the voices of marginalized
Marginalization
In sociology, marginalisation , or marginalization , is the social process of becoming or being made marginal or relegated to the fringe of society e.g.; "the marginalization of the underclass", "marginalisation of intellect", etc.-Individual:Marginalization at the individual level results in an...

 and vulnerable people and groups, report from the perspectives of developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

, and to reflect the views of civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

. The mainstreaming of gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 in reporting and the assessment of the impacts of globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 are a priority.

In order to reach this aim, IPS does not lay claim to providing "spot news", but instead to producing well-researched features
Feature story
- Published Features & news :While the distinction between published features and news is often clear, when approached conceptually there are few hard boundaries between the two. It is quite possible to write a feature in the style of a news story, for instance...

 and reports that give background information, and covering processes rather than events.

IPS may be unique in its concentration on developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

 and the strong relationships with civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

. For this reason, IPS has even been termed the probably "largest and most credible of all 'alternatives' in the world of news agencies" (Boyd-Barrett and Rantanen, 1998: 174/5), being the "first and only independent and professional news agency which provides on a daily basis information with a Third World focus and point of view" (Boyd-Barrett and Thussu, 1992: 94; cf. Giffard, 1998: 191; Fenby, 1986).

Despite all the laudable aims, it is, however, important to see that IPS has never possessed the resources to be a major player in the international media landscape. Because of its focus on longer background pieces instead of concise news, it has at most a marginal status as news provider for mainstream media in developed countries. Its presence is more relevant on the Internet and in developing countries' media.

Legal status


IPS is registered as an international not-for-profit association
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

. It has 'general' NGO consultative status with ECOSOC at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, and the OECD status of "ODA eligible international organization"
Official development assistance
Official development assistance is a term compiled by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to measure aid. The DAC first compiled the term in 1969. It is widely used by academics and journalists as a convenient indicator of...

.

Organizational structure


The IPS headquarters are situated in Rome, Italy. Five editorial desks coordinate the network of journalists around the world: Montevideo (regional bureau for Latin America), Berlin-London (Europe and the Mediterranean), New Delhi (Asia and the Pacific), New York (North America and the Caribbean) and Johannesburg (Africa). Most of IPS's journalists and editors are native to the country or region in which they are working.

IPS receives funding from various sources: through its subscribers and media clients, as beneficiary of multilateral and national development cooperation programmes, and as recipient of project financing from foundations
Foundation (charity)
A foundation is a legal categorization of nonprofit organizations that will typically either donate funds and support to other organizations, or provide the source of funding for its own charitable purposes....

. It is not, as most other agencies, financed by a country or a group of newspapers. Hence, the agency’s budget is comparatively small. Still it manages to be "roughly the sixth largest international news-gathering organization" (Rauch, 2003: 89).

Services


Traditional and new media as well as civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

 and UN organizations are among IPS's client base. For individuals, the daily news service is available online in English and Spanish, and in the translations to 10 additional languages (Arabic, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Swahili, and Swedish).

IPS publishes the TerraViva newsletters on specific occasions such as UN conferences or the World Social Forum
World Social Forum
The World Social Forum is an annual meeting of civil society organizations, first held in Brazil, which offers a self-conscious effort to develop an alternative future through the championing of counter-hegemonic globalization...

. Apart from its news services, IPS provides training for journalists and is involved in project partnerships with civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

 organizations and movements
Social movement
Social movements are a type of group action. They are large informal groupings of individuals or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change....

.

IPS's role in the mediascape


The actual role of IPS in the international mediascape
Mediascape
The term mediascape describes the way that visual imagery impacts the world.Such imagery comes from books, magazines, television, cinema, and, above all, advertising that can directly impact the landscape and also subtly influence, through persuasive techniques and an increasingly pervasive...

 is only marginal (cf. Boyd-Barrett and Rantanen, 1998: 175). This is due to a number of problems, such as:
  • IPS's limited financial resources;
  • its inability to cover all countries with an appropriate number of correspondent
    Correspondent
    A correspondent or on-the-scene reporter is a journalist or commentator, or more general speaking, an agent who contributes reports to a newspaper, or radio or television news, or another type of company, from a remote, often distant, location. A foreign correspondent is stationed in a foreign...

    s (in many countries, IPS only employs stringers
    Stringer (journalism)
    In journalism, a stringer is a type of freelance journalist or photographer who contributes reports or photos to a news organization on an ongoing basis but is paid individually for each piece of published or broadcast work....

    );
  • because of the two aforementioned limitations, IPS can only provide a scattered coverage about regions and issues, and is often unable to produce timely news and follow-ups;
  • IPS's focus on background news "is not particularly attractive to market-driven commercial media" (Giffard, 1998: 200).


However, it seems that IPS has played a significant part in shaping the modern media and their news. Some of its structural innovations have been adopted by other international media organizations, most notably regarding the employment of local journalists for the coverage of developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

. Furthermore, IPS claims to have led the way to a particular style of news (by demonstrating that in-depth analysis is as much part of the news as immediate coverage of the "facts") and to raising awareness about less "newsworthy" topics, such as poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 or the environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

.

Even if IPS's direct outreach is rather limited, it plays an important role in providing background news to journalists, decision makers from governments and UN institutions, and civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

 organizations.

In recent cases, IPS exercised direct influence on the mainstream media agenda:
  • Following the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City bombing
    The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19...

     in 1995, the U.S. media blamed Arab terrorists. IPS was the first news outlet to maintain that white U.S. Americans from the ultraright had in fact committed the bombings. The assertion was finally confirmed and accepted by the mainstream media.
  • IPS was the first to announce that the existence of asbestos worsened the contamination related to the 9/11
    September 11, 2001 attacks
    The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

     destruction of the World Trade Center
    World Trade Center
    The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

     in New York and the clearance works of Ground Zero. It led the way in consistently informing about the resulting health risks as well as the fact that most clearance workers were undocumented immigrants, who were not entitled to health compensation and got paid inadequately.
  • Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
    Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
    The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

    : the international mainstream news picked up the controversy surrounding the publication of these cartoons in a Danish newspaper in February 2006, while IPS had already reported on Islamic organizations' protests against them in November 2005.

Prominent IPS Journalists

  • Aaron Glantz
    Aaron Glantz
    Aaron Glantz, is an American journalist and author. Glantz works as a reporter for Pacifica Radio, as well as for other media outlets, including the global news agency, Inter Press Service...

  • Dahr Jamail
    Dahr Jamail
    Dahr Jamail is an American journalist who is best known as one of the few unembedded journalists to report extensively from Iraq during the 2003 Iraq invasion. He spent eight months in Iraq, between 2003 to 2005, and presented his stories on his website, entitled Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches....

  • Jim Lobe
    Jim Lobe
    James R. Lobe is an American journalist and the Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service. He has also written for Foreign Policy In Focus, Oneworld.net, Alternet, TomPaine.com, Asia Times, and other internet news publications. Lobe is best known for his...

  • Fitzroy Nation†
  • Mohammed Omer
    Mohammed Omer
    Mohammed Omer is a Palestinian journalist. He has reported for numerous media outlets, including: the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, ; Al Jazeera ; New Statesman ; Pacifica Radio; Electronic Intifada ; The Nation ; Inter Press Service ; Free Speech Radio News ; Vermont Guardian ;...

  • Gareth Porter
    Gareth Porter
    Gareth Porter is an American historian, investigative journalist and policy analyst on U.S. foreign and military policy. A strong opponent of U.S. wars in Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, he has also written on the potential for diplomatic compromise to end or avoid wars in Korea, Vietnam,...


External links