1990 Story on UPI Reducing U.S. Coverage

Here's an Oct. 12, 1990, story moved by UPI on the wire service's decision to reduce coverage in 35 states:

//dx--v/ dx---v z0811dx--v r w bc-upi:720ped 10-11 0465 (attn: editors and publishers) UPI to intensify coverage in 15 states, six urban areas WASHINGTON (UPI) -- United Press International announced Thursday it would concentrate its editorial resources in 15 of the nation's most populous states and the District of Columbia and enter an "attack mode" in big cities with six new MetroRegional wires. The 83-year-old news service plans to intensify its reporting of business and finance, economics and trade, government, crime and "quality of life" issues, UPI Executive Vice President Pieter VanBennekom said. "UPI will serve primarily the general news, business and sports clients who are most serious about news -- news executives who rely on newswire reports and programming to help shape the personality and competitiveness of their own news services," VanBennekom said. The 15 states linked to the MetroRegional wires are California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. VanBennekom said the new plan would also improve coverage in Connecticut, Georgia, and Rhode Island. He said more MetroRegional wires may be launched in 1992, depending on the program's success. Other states will be covered with "outstanding reporters" scattered throughout the country, VanBennekom said. The new plan is based on the fact that UPI derives approximately 82 percent of its revenues from the 15 target states, he said. VanBennekom told an afternoon meeting of the editorial staff it would be a "safe guess" that the new plan would result in some layoffs, but he did not say how many. He said some reporters laid off in the last two months may be rehired for the new MetroRegional wires. He said there would be little change in the international or photographic reports. UPI has shifted its emphasis from being a "duplicative, confirmatory" second wire service alongside The Associated Press and Reuters, to becoming an "entrepreneurial news and information service" that pursues "front page stories, . . . gets behind the news and follows the dollar." He said the new MetroRegional plan would put UPI into an "attack mode." VanBennekom said UPI's Washington news operation will continue to center arund beat reporting of the White House, and federal regulatory and congressional affairs. He said UPI will also continue its practice of covering events at the request of individual clients, with pricing on hourly or assignment fees. Asked whether financial problems faced by UPI's parent company, Infotechnology Inc., and its sister company, Financial News Network, were affecting the wire service, VanBennekom said it was a factor in bringing UPI to "cash-flow self-sufficiency." ------------- upi 10-12-90 11:36 aed