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In Middle English, the equivalent word was newes, like the French nouvelles and the German neues.
Similar developments are found in the Slavic languages the Czech and Slovak noviny (from nový, "new"), the cognate Polish nowiny, the Bulgarian novini, and Russian novosti — and in the Celtic languages: the Welsh newyddion (from newydd) and the Cornish nowodhow (from nowydh).
News is provided through many different media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, and also on the testimony of observers and witnesses to events.
It is also used as a platform to manufacture opinion for the population.
Visible chains of long distance signaling, known as optical telegraphy, have also been used throughout history to convey limited types of information.
These can have ranged from smoke and fire signals to advanced systems using semaphore codes and telescopes. China, where reports gathered by officials were eventually compiled as the Spring and Autumn Annals.
These criers were sent to read official announcements in marketplaces, highways, and other well-traveled places, sometimes issuing commands and penalties for disobedience.
Government proclamations, concerning royal ceremonies, laws, taxes, public health, criminals, have been dubbed news since ancient times.
Specially sanctioned messengers have been recognized in Vietnamese culture, among the Khasi people in India, and in the Fox and Winnebago cultures of the American midwest.
The Zulu Kingdom used runners to quickly disseminate news. In most cases, the official spreaders of news have been closely aligned with holders of political power.
Thus, political, religious, and commercial interests have historically controlled, expanded, and monitored communications channels by which news could spread.
Postal services have long been closely entwined with the maintenance of political power in a large area.
Among Zulus, Mongolians, Polynesians, and American Southerners, anthropologists have documented the practice of questioning travelers for news as a matter of priority.