TASS (now ITAR-TASS) is the Russian News Agency
. Its origin
is in a letter sent by Finance Minister V. N. Kokovtsev
to foreign minister on March 26, 1904
writing that "our trade
circles, as well as the Finance Ministry
, are ever more in need of an independent
exchange of information
countries by telegraph
and of a way to make internal business developments widely-known".
In July 1904 a meeting was held about the setting up of an official Telegraph Agency. St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA). The new agency's purpose was "to distribute political, financial, economic, trade, and other information of public interest within the country and abroad...". The St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency began work on September 1, 1904.
SPTA underwent several name changes before coming TASS. This occurred on 25 July, 1925 when it became the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union or Telegrafnoe agentstvo Sovetskogo Soiuza (TASS) by decree of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.
During the Soviet era TASS was the only source of news for all Soviet newspapers, radio and television stations. During the mid 1980s when TASS was at its peak, there were 14 affiliates in the Union republics, bureaus and correspondents in 110 countries, with a daily output equal of 750 newspaper pages, translated into eight languages. It had nearly 5000 workers, with about a fifth being journalists.
In 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the name was changed to the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia - ITAR-TASS. It is still state-funded, and according to its website now produces about 700 newspaper pages per day, just under it Soviet peak. It has 74 bureaus and offices in Russia and other CIS countries and 65 bureaus in 62 foreign countries.