News agencies must focus on "accuracy, timeliness and professionalism" if they are going to "be competitive" in the media industry, Agencia EFE president Jose Antonio Vera said Wednesday.

Vera made his comments during a presentation to participants at a summer course on the role of news agencies at a time when media outlets are experiencing difficulties.

"If agencies are not accurate, if they lack professionalism, if they do not move exclusive stories and are not fast, well, in the end, all the rest, it will be something else and, so, such an agency will cease to be a go-to source," Vera said, adding that the current situation was making journalism a "really bad business."

News agencies are "immersed in the media world" and to the extent that it "does poorly, the agencies do badly," Vera said.

Agencies must find "collateral (business) models" to survive, with their futures linked to their "main tool, which is news," the Agencia EFE chief said.

A study presented at the course on the role of news agencies in the 21st century found that there are increasingly few differences between these outlets and online newspapers, with new information and communication technologies, such as social networks, changing the traditional relationship between agencies and their customers.

Agencia EFE, which will mark its 75th anniversary in 2014, is the No. 1 Spanish-language news agency in the world. EFE