A newsreel is a short, informative documentary film. In the early part of the twentieth century, newsreels were usually shown before movies in theaters.
In the early 1900s, newsreels ran (often along with a cartoon) before a film. During World War Two, newsreels gave movie-goers news about the war as well as current events at home. The word dates from about 1915, from news and reel, the cylinder that film was wound around for being projected onto a screen.