July 2, 1999, Story by AFP on UPI's Future

Here's a July 2, 1999, story by AFP on UPI's future:


WASHINGTON (AFP) - The ailing United Press International (UPI) news agency is to be restructured yet again, placing its bets on an Internet-based future, the agency's chief executive announced Friday.

"It will be a revolutionary restructuring," UPI president and chief executive Arnaud de Borchgrave said in a telephone interview with AFP.

"Our plans are for restructuring UPI from top to bottom," taking it out of the arena of conventional international news agencies, "and create our own arena of news that (will be) relevant for the next century," he said.

"We are facing an entirely web-based future."

As a first step towards that future, the Saudi-owned news agency plans to suspend in Spanish service, although it will continue to expand its Arabic service.

Borchgrave said UPI would be concentrating more on niche markets around the world after establishing key links to all major research centers.

"I have been for half a century in this business, and I think I know what is needed for the next century," he said.

"In an overload of information, people are looking more and more for what is relevant."

"We are going to establish key links to all major research centers in the country, all the places where really important things are going on, right now, and are never reported in the media," he said.

Borchgrave, a former Washington Times editor and chief foreign correspondent at Newsweek, took the helm at UPI in January promising to take the beleaguered news agency in a new direction.

Once one of the world's biggest news agencies, UPI is currently only a shadow of its former self.

The agency was founded in 1907 as United Press Associations by E.W. Scripps. In 1958, United Press merged with William Randolph Hearst's International News Service to become UPI.

Journalistic legends such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and John Chancellor got their start with the agency, and became household names for their frontline reports during World War II.

But since its financial downfall began in the mid 1980s, most of the agency's clients are now Web sites and local radio stations, who are served by correspondents working largely from their homes