1987 Story on New UPI Team



Here's a UPI story from Nov. 20, 1987 on the appointment of a new team of UPI top editors:


174m r w pm-upi 11-19 attn:editors - publishers upi names new editorial team by sydney shaw washington (upi) -- united press international has named a team of top news editors -- all upi veterans -- to replace a group of editors who resigned to protest financial constraints by the owner of the 80-year-old wire service. starting today, al rossiter jr.'s, upi's award-winning science editor, will be executive editor. bill ferguson, upi's managing editor-broadcast, becomes managing editor-national. international reporter leon daniel becomes managing editor-international. michael freedman, currently director of the upi radio network, succeeds ferguson as managing editor-broadcast. "united press international is pleased to announce an editorial team of such strength, experience and vision," mario vazquez-rana, upi's chairman and president, said in a statement. "these men represent the very best the industry has to offer. "we have tapped upi's real resource -- professional journalists who know the news agency business," he said. the editors will immediately start work on plans to shape upi into a leaner, more competitive company and end years of losses, rossiter said. a blueprint for the new upi is expected at the first of next year. but there are no immediate plans for any "massive layoffs," he said. the announcement thursday came one day before the effective date of the resignations of ben cason, barry susman and kim willenson, who previously served as editor, national managing editor and international managing editor. the three editors announced their intentions to leave two weeks ago, saying vazquez-rana had usurped their control over the wire service and planned to trim spending by laying off about 300 of the company's more than 1,200 employees. cason, sussman and willenson, who came to upi in january, said they did not want to oversee the layoffs and could "no longer assure the quality and integrity of the upi report." the statement sparked an immediate anry outcry from upi staffers and a formal protest thursday from the wire service guild, which said upi employees have taken an "unnecessary, unwarranted and unjustified battering." the workers, "not the three newcomers who walked in the door nine months ago with little or no knowledge of how a modern wire service operates -- are the pillars of upi," the union said. "they are professionals. they ensure the 'quality' and 'integrity' of the upi report. and they continue to work." cason, in a statement after the new editors were named, said, "al rossiter is an excellent, experienced and dedicated journalist. the upi report is in very good hands." rossiter, 51, who joined upi in atlanta in 1959 and has covered the space program since its infancy, said, "upi has always stood for integrity and independence. as long as i am editor, it always will." "we are going to take a look at the overall editorial structure of upi from end to end to see where we can economize, to see where we can improve the report," he said. "we are losing money and may have to cut or eliminate some parts of the service." he would not elaborate which areas would be targeted for cuts. in a memo to employers nov. 6, vazquez-rana said this "reshaping may make for a smaller and tighter company. but let he reassure all of you that this does not mean 'meat-ax layoffs' as many of our ill-intentioned critics have suggested." rossiter was named science editor at upi in 1973, overseeing worldwide science and medical coverage. he has covered ever american manned spaceflight since 1963. he has traveled to africa and the south pole in reporting on science and has received numerous awards, including the american chemical society's prestigious grady-stack medal. he is one of the 40 national semifinalists in nasa's journalist in space project. ferguson, 61, joined united press international in 1950 as a reporter in the atlanta bureau. he moved to the company's broadcast division in 1957, was named national editor and manager of the division in 1967 and managing editor in 1986. daniel, 55, joined united press international in 1956 as a reporter in the nashville bureau. currently, as upi national reporter, he is the agency's chief roving reporter in the united states. previously, he had been upi's chief news editor in europe, based in london. his reporting experience covers five continents in addition to most of the major news stories of the last three decades, including the early years of the u.s. space program, the civil rights movement, the vietnam war, the fall of saigon (he was one of the last western reporters expelled from the city), the grenada invasion and the persian gulf war, among others. freedman, 35, joined united press international in 1986 as senior producer for the upi radio network. currently, he is director of the network. a 17-year veteran of radio news, he was for five years news director of wcxi am-fm in detroit, has worked as a reporter and taught broadcast journalism at wayne state university. his more than 40 awards in broadcast journalism include the upi national broadcast award and the radio television news directors association's edward r. murrow award. upi 11-20-87 11:45 acs