1988 Departing Notes



Here are a collection of messages posted in 1988, after the takeover of the FNN group (including some from the new owners):


078m all unipressers this is my farewell and good luck message. i am voluntarily leaving at the end of the day for hopefully greener patures. i began my upi career as an idealistic rookie back on jan. 6, 1967 in austin, then spent 3 years in ne, before becoming a south texas fixture in san antonio and the rio grande valley for the past 17 yrs. though mometarily naked, as i was when i started, i am rich for having known the finest bunch of real journalists left on earth. the only shame of my career has been leaving for two and a half years to work for ... shudder ... the bureaucratic, bloated and indolent rox. adios and buena suerte. i'll be rooting for ya'll from the sidelines. sisk-rg upi 01-08-88 09:09 acs
358m ccccx from: al rossiter jr. re: restructuring as you know, we are in the midst of a reorganization effort aimed at reducing costs and designed to produce and develop services that will meet the needs of clients and prospective clients. the goal is to get upi out of the red for the first time in two decades and assure the company's future as a comprehensive news and information service. the company's senior managers have endorsed plans we believe will put the company on a successful track, and chairman mario vazquez rana has them under review. once a reorganization plan has been approved, you will be advised and asked to help in its implementation. it is obvious, and our planning acknowledges this, that we should not produce comprehensive state reports in a number of states where there is little revenue or growth potential. the states in which our presence is being reduced include: wyoming, new mexico, north dakota, south dakota, idaho, mississippi, vermont, maine, new hampshire, south carolina, hawaii, kentucky, kansas and arkansas. in those states, upi will continue to cover the most important news and news of interest to other states. bureaus will be maintained in all states. as we already have announced, there have been a number of layoffs. additional staff cutbacks are necessary to help us stabilize the company. these largely are being made along the framework of the service reductions planned for the low-revenue states. i know these reductions and the resulting uncertainties are of concern to you. we will make every effort to keep you informed. ccccqqe upi 01-08-88 0:2:46 pcd
413m cccx unipressers fm: al rossiter jr. re: restructuring to clear up any possible confusion resulting from newspaper accounts of the company's eorganization plans, upi is notnot going to stop competing with the ap. on the contrary, we anticipate that the ongoing restructuring will allow us to compete even more effectively with the ap. what we plan to do is to select our competitive arenas. we will not compete in certain low-revenue states, identified friday, on every minor story. we will compete on important stories in those states. in the states where we will continue comprehensive state reports, we will compete with the ap on every story of value to our clients. of couse we will continue to compete very effectively on national and foreign stoies, and there will be no diminution of the competiveness of our top-notch broadcast, newspicture, sports, financial and other specialized services. competition is the life blood of upi. we are reorganizing the company to guarantee that it stays that way. as we told you friday, as soon as the reorganization plan has been approved by chairman mario vazquez rana, you will be advised and asked to help in its implementation. thanks. cccccqqe upi 01-11-88 03:37 pcs
457m buros fyi, dr. earl brian visited the chicago and upr staffs for about a half hour this morning and presented a very positive outlook. he said it is his gut feeling that upi can be turned around and made profitable. his people currently are assessing where we stand out and preparing to put together a business plan to take to their investors. the investors, he said, are comfortable with short-term losses of our magnitude provided they see a turnaround and -- while it's always a possibility -- has not yet had to throw in the towel on any of them. he enjoyed a positive response from the staff and received a round of applause when he was done. he's currently on his way to hc and then to da for similar appearances. cheers. kieck-hx upi 02-25-88 03:15 pcs
377m unipressers here's a partial text of staff mtg with dr. earl brian in dallas friday, feb. 26: "last summer mario asked if we could look at sharing communications aspects (through brian's stamford, ct., company that has the upi database). "at thanksgiving, mario said maybe he wanted to get out . . . and would we buy upi? "mario is a very secretive person . . . so we've had little ability to talk with employees. that made us nervous so we bought the proxy instead. "our next step is to attempt to find out what's going on. we felt there was an opportunity here worth examining to put together a program to make something out of this company." (here he went into details on the news team, which is outlined in steinle's earlier memo.) "we are all busy this week finding out where the problems are -- the bills that haven't been paid, (etc.). "we plan to convene a meeting of the major clients to find out what they're willing to buy, then put together a plan to take to investors . . . we've got to (find a way) to finance this deficit. "i think a plan can be developed and this business can be saved. but as a venture capitalist i know you can't go in knowing exactly what's happening. somone will always throw you a curve, and that's what we need to figure out. "i can't promise anything. my promise is to make the best effort." (in response to question about whether upi will survive as a full-service wire service company) "that depends on what the clients want. i believe if five years ago we had gotten together . . . (and assessed our market) we would have found enough customers what wanted enough of the services. by insisting they take it all (news, photos, etc.), we've shot ourselves in the foot. "the real issue . . . i know the customers will tell you what they're going to buy. i personally think enough people want enough services to have a full- service wire company." "(brian said he had spoken with friends in high places at the new york times about whether they would sign with upi again.) "nobody likes to have to rely on a source that is in the news itself all the time. they don't want the same level of $800,000 service but they'll take part of it. "i don't believe if they (clients) all come back we have the opportunity to make money in this business alone. . . . you've got to refocus yourself. we can only make money on the 'retail' basis (sending information) to businesses, corporations. "we're trying to put together a business plan in the next 30 days. "there seems to be significant demand everywhere for the picture service. "mario has provided no money for ongoing operations . . . the total amount of money available friday night was $30,000 when you had payroll coming out today of $1.5 million. "we (wnw) are bridge financers . . . we have loaned money to the company for the interim." (asked if nwn will recognize wsg as employees' representatives.) "our position is one of reducing clamor. they (wsg) had demands for institution of the old contract and a copy of our agreement with mario. we're working out a confidential agreement to do (the latter). "as far as the contract, i don't think it's realistic in the near future. it's going to take some time to assess what's in it. "our attitude toward the union is we want to deal with anyone responsible who represents the employees." (he then indicated there had been a lot of past animosity that can't be erased in a week or 30 days.) "we're going to have to tell any venture capitalist we talk with that they can expect to lose money for three years. but we've still had good response." upi 02-26-88 02:41 pcs
086m unipressers frank eidge, who joined united press in november 1945, leaves today after a 42-year career with the company, all in the miami bureau. frank won't see his farewell messages today; he's been hospitalized for gall bladder surgery. we've been in touch, and will onpass any messages from him. chrs. geimann-mh upi 04-29-88 10:01 acd
087m all a fable (for which u must supply ur own moral): about 3 1/2 years ago, when upi offered me a job in nov, i asked college pal bill harwood, then harwood-ca, if it would be stupid to take it in light of all i'd heard about the company's financial condition. sez he: "what the heck. it's a great experience and even if the company goes bankrupt and u lose ur job in six months, it'll make a great resume entry. as u no doubt recall, the company went bankrupt in five months. i have lost my job (altho it took 3 years for tt to happen). people are impressed to see "upi" on my resume, because they know the caliber of folks tt work here. most importantly, it has been a fantastic experience. will miss uall, even harwood, who denies now tt he ever sed tt. gud luck and keep ur chins up. u're far and away the best journalists, coworkers and friends i've ever known. margaret lillard-ki upi 04-29-88 10:03 acd
089m all when i became a unipresser 26 years ago, a car dealer named evan mecham was fighting the establishment by running for at held by a man who had been in congress 50 years. on the day i submitted my resignation, that same car dealer -- now governor -- was convicted in his impeachment trial. which all goes to show, i suppose, that the news never changes. all this is my way of saying this is my last day at upi. i don't have another job lined up yet, but i felt i had to make a move at this time despite my intense loyalty to upi. when i leave here, i won't miss the lousy hours, broadcast rewrites and weather transfers, but i will miss the hard-working upi staff and the high that comes with a good log. thanks especially to clafin-hc and to harriett hindman, a long-time co-worker and my successor as ix bureau manager. good luck to all and my upi prosper. hurlbert-ix upi 04-29-88 10:05 acd
090m all-sports writers-deskers-state-eds to the staff at upi: so that this message does not ramble on through 25 takes and nightfall, i'm leaving out all the blandishments about how wonderful you are and how hard it is to say goodbye to 800 people one admires so deeply. but, as your friend in the craft, i simply cannot leave without expressing my warmest thanks for the hundreds of excellent stories you wrote, edited, hunched, chased, badgered, cajoled, shook by the throat, harangued, re-wrote, and brought back from the dead to keep the sports write hammering away for the past four years. your millions of words made my job a delight. and, if you are ever in trouble -- and you are, all of you, always in trouble -- remember that i am part of the family and give me a call. what a privilege it has been to work with you. david tucker upi 04-29-88 10:07 acd
from jeff shaine: this doesn't get any easier even when you've done it twice before. again (april 28) is my last shift with the company, having received the triple crown of upi layoffs in just 4 1/2 years. as much as i won't miss the late nights and the track agate, what i will miss are the outstanding professionals i've had a chance to work with, most notably in the sports department, where i was somewhat adopted by david tucker, fred mcmane, bill murray and the rest of the staff. a word of thanks especially to dave hurlbert, who gave me the freedom to roam the ix sports scene without too much resistance. also a moment of remembrance for dick charnock, who first hired me here, and the late milt richman, who was among the first to put his confidence in me. i've had the chance to speak with several of you over the past few weeks, and i appreciate your kind words. thanks for the encouragement. should anybody be in the ix area in the future, pls give me a call and we'll get together. finally, if you're religious, you know how important faith is. the same holds true for the future of upi. while it's true that a lot of editors have been losing faith in the company over the past few years, upi will pull through as long as management and the employees have faith that the company will survive. keep the faith. chrs. shain-ix upi 04-29-88 10:09 acd
sw buros the time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things -- mainly leaving -- or at least changing regions. the problem is, words fail me... no small concern for someone who's been accused of doing 20 minutes every time the refrigerator light goes on. i'd like to say the past six years have been fun, frantic and fulfilling. i'd like to say tht, but i can't. well, one out of three ain't bad. in all the good-bye messages i've seen, it occurs to me that proper homage has not been paid to those who have gone before -- not to mention the few who remain. so, with no regard to billing, here's a list of people i wish (1) were still here or, (2) were going to be where i wind up: jay lewis -- "jaybubba" to his friends, who never failed to brighten the early morning hours with outrageous messages and fine news judgment -- not to mention terminal irreverence. cheri chapman -- a delightful elf who, as far as i could tell, never said an unkind word to anyone. kandace powers -- a class act in "the big easy" and a helluva reporter. elizabeth drake poteet braden -- a gentle soul who took on tulsa, the oil and gas journal, kansas city and three last names. vickie bowles -- the all-time queen of the message wire, a bawdy bodacious broadwhose "stop it or i'll cut your bells off" remains the best argument-stopper i've ever known. harry culver -- a man who knows more about state finances than the state finance director, who had the remarkable good sense to hire culver so he could have state finances explained to him. paul english -- a muckraker in the best sense of the word and the only person i know who has a tape recording of every interview he ever conducted -- much to the chagrin of a large number of political types. lori linenberger --here departure takes the sun out of the land of sunflowers, sunshine and s.o.b.'s. mede nix -- i just met her thks year, but every time i look at my 2-year-old, i think of jessica in a well and mede crying in her hotel room. mary schlangentein -- the heart of houston and the only person i know who could hold her own with bowles on the message wire. john demers -- the justin wilson of haute cuisine, but i always wanted to ask him one question: how do you edit food? janet plume -- a rox refugee who speaks at least 17 languages, looks like gloria steinham's twin and whose decision to battle a vindictive boss made life a little bit easier for those who followed here at ko's rox buro. bruce fisher -- a name you don't know, but one of the driving forces in my journalistic career. how can you not like a guy who buys a jeep on the way to work and forgets to tell his wife? he also kept a loaded .45-caliber pistol under the driver's seat of said vehicle because "there are some strange people out there." no kidding, fish. barbara canetti -- a jewish-american princess with an improbable last name i first met at the houston post. after coming to work for us, she batted her big brown eyes and shelled rox covering the price daniels jr. murder trial. bill inman -- another houston post refugee who got canned for writing what he thought. rox opined they didn't need him and i suggested upi. we've enjoyed the benefits of some of the best writing in the business ever since. patti bond -- a co-worker and cohort who came to us at the tender age of 20, took over the night desk and made it her personal domain. she was going great guns right up until the time she fell in love. i keep telling her she can get shots for that, but she won't listen. david zizzo -- born with a hang glider on his back and the telephone manners of a water buffalo with a gum boil, he's at least as apolitical as i am -- grrr -- writes a whole lot better. jim wieck -- somebody goofed. how else do you explain a management type who looks like a commune member and loves old motorcycles? the first time we saw him in the ko buro, we thought he was the janitor -- and, in a sense, he's cleaned up our messes. john thompson -- the only man i know who's had both lungs removed and still insists on smoking four packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day. jerry witcher -- this is a tough one. i've known him for more than 12 years and worked for him for six. if there's a better boss, i have no idea where he/she might be found. among other things, he bent a few rules to allow me to enjoy the first three months in the lives of my son and daughter. i'll explain that to them one of these days and they will be indebted to him as i am. as it stands today, i appear to be headed to tallahassee, fla., to take over the upi capitol buro. i'm trying fervently not to feel like a rat crawling back on a sinking ship. i know there are names missing here -- mason, pope, lloyd-davies, yates, merriweather, duffy, sisk, kingham, flynn, lumen, kelly, ryan, haines, stutzman and wormser, just to name a few. all i can say is thanks -- to all of you. and 73s. rgds. rocky-ko upi 04-29-88 10:27 acd
103m all the last 31 years have been very special to me -- they brought me upi and ted majeski -- what a pair! and larry desantis to yell in my other ear. thanks to all of you for making them wonderful. the only checks that will bear my signature after today will be peresonal. love, marie majeski/wap
134m demers-ne, fornell-nep, plume-ne, gyan-ne just wanted to let u all know tt eye was thinking abt u tdy et wish u all the best of luck in the future. dave, rmbr u din get a chance to come out to the farm during the playoffs last yr. eye hope ur in x again sometime et get a chance to visit. john, eye'm sure eye'll be seeing ur name on the best sellers list b4 long. keep eatin' all tt gud stuff et making everybody else's mouth water. janet, thxn for helping break me in with upi. hope u get a chance to stay in ne if tt's wot u wanna do. joe, sri we hv never met, but if ur still planning to come to x this summer, be sure et give us a call. working in ne was a lot of fun et taught me a lot. it's hard to imagine tt all of u good ppl will no longer be there. but eye know things will work out for the best for all of u, so keep the crescent city spiritet "laissez les bon temps rouler." rgds--whitworth-x
160m all (sw buros) my last day is tomorrow, but i wanted to say goodbye to as many people as possible td. to those of u remaining with upi, i hope the journey gets easier cuz u deserve it. to those of u leaving as i am, i wish u the best in the future. in particular, i will miss all of my good division friends. like rocky-ko, when i see ur names i think of good times meeting et working with u. i also wanted to let u know i've had fun confusing all of u by changing my name from drake. one of the best decisions i ever made was stealing braden-ac (tt's john, not me) from upi. if ur ever in the kp area, my door is open et the light is on. chrs. braden-kp upi 04-29-88 11:34 acd
193m to all of the departing in my 30 years with upi i have had a few bad days today is the worst i am still here but will miss the class professionals that are leaving. my best to all of you. god speed. we surely miss you. fisher/dap upi 04-29-88 12:36 pcd
201m all this farewell business is turning out to be tougher than i thought. 21 years, 4 months and 9 days ago i reported for my first upi shift in portland, ore., to face an ominous piece of machinery they called a teletype machine. we had a tech in jo at the time who used to beat teletypes with a metal ruler, insisting that such action "scattered the ions.' it sounded good to me, so attacked the thing hourly. finally subdued it, too, i'm proud to say. since then i've seen upi duty in helena, san francisco and medford. teletypes were replaced by vdt's, people came and went, upi was a-l-w-a-y-s in a state of downhold, or worse, but through it all unipressers have maintained a sense of feistiness and class that will never cease to amaze me. this outfit has been family to me and i learned more about the news business here than i suspect i will ever learn anywhere again. you folks are a rare and wonderful breed. it's been an honor to have been your colleague. no, i don't know what i'll be doing in the future, but i plan to spend the summer being a bum. i have faith that this company will survive, and survive with style. upi is the best. don't ever let anyone tell you anything else. hang in there, and it times get rough, just beat on your vdt with a metal ruler. always a unipresser, susan tebbe-mo upi 04-29-88 12:46 pcd
228m rock-ko i refuse to say goodbye since it's too easy to say hey from over on azm. hope tallahassee is ready for u and craig walker ... together. go east young man and prosper. just keep in touch. stokes-dar upi 04-29-88 1:43 pcd 229m braden-kp not every family can boast two ex-unipressers, but u certainly can. best of luck in ur new endeavor and keep in touch. it's been a pleasure working with u. chrs. nix-x upi 04-29-88 1:43 pcd
232m demers-ne john, just wanted to wish you good luck one moretime. the lifestyle pkg is going to suffer in your absence. i'll miss ur food copy, as will several clis, a lot. chrs. karen upi 04-29-88 1:45 pcd
235m ccccx memo 4-29 re: management hotline from: steinle date: april 29, 1988 i want to take the opportunity to add my best wishes to those unipressers who are leaving the company today. we are losing excellent colleagues and their loss will be felt. i have received a number of serious and heartfelt messages from managers and associates of the people who are departing, pleading their cases and acknowledging the impact of their loss. i believe that virtually the same arguments could be made for everyone who is departing this company: that he or she made an important contribution and that their loss will hurt. having acknowledged that, i also think it's important to remember that none of these decisions was taken lightly. given the company's losses, which matched its drop in revenue -- over $18 million in the last two years, and losses at the rate of $2 million a month for 1988 -- a staff reduction was inevitable. and given the fact that upi was facing liquidation just over two months ago, the alternative -- closing this business -- is the only prospect worse than what is happening today. the knowledge is of little solace to those who are departing, but i hope the fact that we who remain have another chance to turn around this company will be a source of inspiration to us. with a worldwide staff exceeding 800 editorial unipressers, upi remains a formidable journalistic force and a news organization we can be proud of. in my travels in recent weeks, i have been the beneficiary of unceasing good wishes for our turnaround goal. i have also been reminded time and again everywhere i got of the service we provide and the important of maintaining a second competitive wire service report. a number of people want to write us off because they don't want to confront the agony this company has endured, or they represent other for whom competition is anthema. they would rather stress the negatives than the strong possibility for survival and growth that our new initiative presents. but in the face of all that, i am convinced that upi can succeed, fueled with the energy and commitment you have demonstrated in the past. like a swift halfback darting for the goal line, we will have to swivel our hips to reach our goal, but the goal line exists; it's now in sight and there are strong supporters willing to cheer us on as we charge down the field. you have demonstrated over and over that you have the staying power to achieve the goals we have set forward in our business plan, so don't let anybody convince you we can't. today, it's appropriate to mourn the loss of good colleagues and wish them well, but, tomorrow the battle continues for the rest of us. it is worth the effort. a turnaround is possible. those are excellent reasons to push ahead with vigor and confidence. our mission simple stated is to reestablish upi in a position in journalism that it deserves -- as a profitable business in which the kind of losses we are experiencing today will never be necessary again. pms cccccqe upi 04-29-88 1:52 pcd
m237 friends what's in and out for april 29: in: new mayor of milwaukee out: mayor of 28 years in: new mayoral press secretary out: opening milwaukee buo at 5:30 a.m. in: wishing my unipresser colleagues the best always on and off the job with special regards for their every-day humour and helpfulness to chris mead-du .. ginny kosola, marcy kreiter, bob kieckhefer, tom and kay, bob murphy, sal esposito-hx... bill brewer-nw... chueck devevec-ms... jim sielick-tl... carol van dam-war... and my uc brothers. chrs, rosalind rouse-uc upi 04-29-88 01:53 pcd

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