United Press International

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United Press International was purchased in May 2000 by News World Communications, a Unification Church-controlled company. At the time of its purchase, NewsMax was "probably UPI's highest-profile client." [1]

United Press International was established in 1907 and gained a reputation as a pioneering global wire service featuring many of the big names of journalism including Walter Cronkite and Helen Thomas.

On its website UPI states that "our audience has shifted towards decision-makers in the business or policy communities who are reached through multiple distribution channels. We provide insightful and analytical stories that help these end-users make better business or policy decisions. Our journalists strive to give readers the knowledge they need to make decisions by talking to multiple sources and by offering several perspectives of an issue.'

"Distribution partners provide access to thousands of businesses, policy groups, and academic institutions worldwide. Content is also licensed directly to policy journals and specialty websites with dedicated audiences interested in in-depth content and analysis," the profile states.

UPI was at its peak in the 1950's when it had over 5,000 newspaper and broadcast clients. However, the advent of television and the demise of many afternoon newspapers precipitated its decline. In 1958 United Press, as it was then known, merged with International News Service owned by William Randolph Hearst. In 1982 it was sold once more by the Scripps Howard newspaper chain for $5 million and in the next decade sold another three times.

"Where it once boasted 1,500 reporters and 200 bureaus around the world, UPI now has a skeletal staff of 157, having lost most of its newspaper clients and sold key assets to AP and Reuters," The Observers's Melinda Wittstock wrote in May 2000.

After its Middle Eastern owners sold UPI to Moon's News World Communications, its respected White House correspondent, Helen Thomas, resigned after working for the organisation for 57 years. Wittstock reported that Arnaud de Borchgrave unsuccessfully persuaded Thomas to stay on. Thomas herself refused to comment on her resignation other than issuing a media statement wishing UPI and the new owners all the best.

Commenting on Thomas's resignation, the Washington Post's media correspondent, Howard Kurtz, described UPI's fall: "no newspaper I read carries UPI stories any more. It's just sad." [2]

According to the UPI website, in the fall of 2003 the company planned to introduce a "new Spanish language service that will focus on issues that affect the Hispanic community in the United States".

Personnel

Contact information

United Press International World Headquarters
1133 19th St, NW
Washington, DC 20036
USA
Phone: 1 202 898 8000
Fax: 1 202 898 8057
Web: http://www.upi.com/

UPI also has offices in Middlesex (UK), Tokyo (Japan), Santiago (Chile), Hong Kong, Beirut (Lebanon) and Seoul (South Korea).

External links

History

Timeline

1907: United Press was created by uniting three smaller news syndicates by the Midwest newspaper publisher E. W. Scripps. It was headed by Hugh Baillie from 1935 to 1955, and at the time of his retirement, it had 2,900 clients in the United States, and 1,500 abroad. The E.W. Scripps Company controlled United Press until 1982


1958: UP became United Press International (UPI) by absorbing William Randolph Hearst's smaller competing agency, the International News Service (INS) and it was now among the largest newswire services in the world. In the USA it competing domestically for about 90 years with the Associated Press, while internationally it was in competition with AP, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. It grew until UPI had more than 2,000 full-time employees, 200 news bureaus in 92 countries, and more than 6,000 subscribers to its services but with an emphasis on afternoon newspapers at a time when TV news was taking over.


1982: sale of UPI by the Scripps company. UPI has since changed ownership several times and was twice under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Progressively deeper service and staff cuts and changes of focus led to a shrinking traditional media customer base.


1999: The sale of UPI's broadcast client list to its one-time major rival, the AP, UPI now concentrates on smaller information market niches and no longer services media organizations in any significan way. It has a UPI Feature syndication business which sells distributed op-ed pieces to corporations wanting to spread propaganda.


2000: UPI was purchased by News World Communications, an international news media company founded in 1976 by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon. It now maintains a news website and photo service and electronic publishing business with a variety of packages (text, video and photo formats). UPI's daily output consists of a newsbrief summary service called "NewsTrack," (general, business, sports, science, health and entertainment reports), and "Quirks in the News." It's premium service has deeper coverage and analysis, with an emphasis on emerging threats, the security industry, and energy resources in English, Spanish and Arabic.

It has a small Miami metropolitan head office location, bureaus in five other countries, and uses freelance journalists elsewhere.

News/comments