Little Bits of History

Free Press

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 25, 2011

Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (Photo by Barry Kent)

July 25, 1925: Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) is established. A National News Agency was in place beginning in 1904. It’s first incarnation was as the St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA) established on September 1, 1904 by Tsar Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. It was suggested by the Finance, Interior, and Foreign Ministries and approved by the Tsar. One director from each of the ministries sat in control of the news.

The first name change came the day after Tsar Nicholas changed the name of St. Petersburg to Petrograd. The name of the news agency also changed to the Petrograd Telegraph Agency (PTA). It was seized by the Bolsheviks in 1917 during the Revolution and was declared to be part of the central government. The name changed in 1918 to Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) and became “the central information agency of the whole Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.”

In 1925, TASS became the central information agency of the country. TASS held the  “exclusive right to gather and distribute information” both inside and outside the country. They controlled the news with 4,000 Soviet newspapers, TV and radio station under their control. They had more than 1,000 foreign outlets as well. They were one of the largest news networks in the world with correspondents in 682 offices inside the USSR and 94 bureaus abroad, employing about 2,000 journalists and photographers.

In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the name again changed to ITAR-TASS. This agency preserves the status of central state information agency of the country. That information is open to the public now. ITAR-TASS maintains an Internet presence with 45 round-the-clock news cycles in six languages and with more than 40 information bulletins. They operate the largest photograph service in Russia. The website maintains electronic data banks holding all agency materials produced since 1987. If all of the daily output from the website were printed, it would fill about 300 newspapers pages.

“To us, who are regaled every morning and evening with intelligence, and are supplied from day to day with materials for conversation, it is difficult to conceive how man can consist without a newspaper, or to what entertainment companies can assemble.” – Samuel Johnson

“I read the Social Democratic newspapers, I saw their disgusting attitude towards anything that bore even the slightest revolutionary character, and I realized that there could be no reconciliation between a revolutionary party and a party trying to earn a reputation for ‘moderation’ in the eyes of the government and the bourgeoisie.” – Peter Kropotkin

“The evil that men do lives on the front pages of greedy newspapers, but the good is oft interred apathetically inside.” – Brooks Atkinson

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.” – George Orwell

Also on this day:
Oh Joy! Louise – In 1978, Louise Joy Brown is born.
TP – in 1871, a patent was granted for perforated toilet paper.