UPI Reaquires Computer System

Here's a July 2, 1993, story from UPI on the reacquisition of its computer system:

UPI Reacquires Computer System, Announces Appointments

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Worldwide News Inc., which operates United Press International, said Friday it has reacquired the computer system UPI uses to collect and distribute its news reports to clients.

The system had been operated by TII Inc., a former UPI affiliate, since August 1990 as part of the modernization of UPI's original computer and communications network. The system consists of software, hardware and communications equipment in Alexandria, Va.

Terms of the agreement and the purchase price were not disclosed.

The computer system will be moved to UPI's headquarters in downtown Washington over the next few months.

"This purchase gives UPI control over its computer and communications systems, setting the stage for further modernization," said John R. Hayes, vice president and member of the UPI executive management committee.

"By having the system within the organization again, UPI can set its own course for the future, using new technology to help create an information network for the 21st century," Hayes said.

UPI last month announced a restructuring plan designed to expand its share of the global information market and multimillion-dollar investments in new technology.

The planned investments include converting the UPI Radio Network to an all-digital network, transforming newspictures into a fully digitalized operation and installing new computer terminals and processing equipment in the news-gathering operation.

The news agency also is reorganizing its domestic editorial operations by creating regional offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Washington.

In a separate announcement Friday, UPI named Robert Kieckhefer, a 25- year UPI veteran of news, sales and senior management, general manager of the Chicago regional office, a new job in the restructured U.S. domestic operation.

Kieckhefer, 48, will have responsibility for news-gathering, product development, client relations and sales efforts in a 12-state region in the Midwest. Veteran manager Marcy Kreiter was named regional editor and Gary Dobson was named sales executive.

UPI also appointed five other editorial managers to be regional editors: Skip Martin, New York; Tobin Beck, Miami; Phil Magers, Dallas; Tony Gonsalves, Los Angeles; and Robert A. Martin, Washington.

UPI has offered early retirement and voluntary severance incentives based on length of service to all employees, including those covered under a contract with The Wire Service Guild thaty expired last year. The deadline for accepting the severance offer is July 16.

UPI was purchased a year ago by London-based Middle East Broadcasting Centre Ltd. after it outbid New York investor Leon Charney and religious broadcaster Pat Robertson in a bankruptcy court auction.

UPI's previous owner, Infotechnology Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 28, 1991.

United Press was founded June 1907 by publisher E.W. Scripps to compete with The Associated Press. It merged in 1958 with William Randolph Hearst's International News Service to form United Press International.

In 1982, Scripps Howard sold the news agency and the company has had four owners and been in bankruptcy protection twice since the initial sale.