Internal report to UPI employees circa 1992 from former UPI executive Steve Geimann:
(This file is regularly updated for all to read. Our goal is a fresh edition every Friday. Your contributions are needed. We need editorial, sales and people items. Please send them to Geimann-WA via nzm.)
Iraq Attack Redux
Allied forces attacked Saddam Hussein - again - and UPI was more than on top of the story; we scooped the White House.
A UPI bulletin precede hit the wire while planes from the USS Kitty Hawk were still in the air, and 35 minutes before the White House announced the attack designed to force Saddam to comply with U.N. resolutions.
First word came from Radio Network editor-anchor Rudolph Brewington, a commander in the Naval Reserve, who secured confirmation from a source in the Pentagon that "Operations have commenced." Three days later, Rudy went on reserve duty for two weeks.
Brewington's tip was relayed to wire side, where Washington Day Editor David Rosso fashioned a one-sentence bun with everything we had. In New York City, all-new station WCBS credited UPI when it broke the story.
Back in Washington, radio, wire and photo staffers were dispatched to the principal sites where news was happening: The White House, Pentagon and State Department.
Radio Network Programming Director Howard Dicus covered business while Jeff Young hustled to the Pentagon and was filing to the Net within 15 minutes. Wire correspondent Chuck Doe rushed from the Hill back to his Pentagon cubbyhole.
Almost immediately, international bureaus collected reaction and from Jerusalem and Beirut, Jonathan Ferziger and Dalal Saoud monitored Baghdad Radio for reaction from Saddam.
The next day, Southwest Regional Editor Phil Magers and his staff worked on a story about the battalion of troops headed to Kuwait from Fort Hood, Texas.
Teamwork has always been a hallmark of UPI. The lightning blitz on Iraq's missile emplacements in the southern part of the country was another example where all parts of the news agency work together.
Thurston Survies Mucky Trip to Shetlands
London staffer Mick Thurston returned from the gale-whipped Shetland Islands after five days scouring the island for ruined salmon farmers, reticent salvage experts, and disguised tanker captains after a massive oil spill.
But almost more elusive was the more basic requirement of somewhere to sleep. With anything up to 1,000 journalists on the remote island of 23,000 people, he spent the first night on a bench at the airfield.
He reports: "Much of the next day, like about 500 other journalists, I spent collaring every local in sight, smiling and asking them if they had a spare room. There really wasn't anywhere else to go."
He ended up in a local's house with three other photographers in similar straits. "The woman evicted most of her family so that she could take in journalists. Very strange. But I think that kind of thing was happening all over the island."
Mick eventually returned Sunday having found almost all the things he was looking for - including the winchman who was the last man on the sinking tanker, who gave a dramatic blow by blow account of its final moments.
"The only person noboby could get was the tanker captain. Everybody knew which hotel he was in, but he seemed to speak remarkably little English, and had a very big lawyer."
Division Vice President Robert A. Martin, who was back in the United States when the tanker ran aground, met with a new UK client this week who said Thurston's reporting was just the kind of coverage we expected when they signed up.
3 Cheers for New Features
UPI's broadcast wire launched two products this year - for country stations and for classical stations.
Radio Programming Chief Howard Dicus arranged for both features, working with the Grand Ole Opry for the country feature and personally assembling the daily almanac of classical moments in classical music.
Assistant Managing Editor Jack Wilkinson reports a warm response to our new country and classical music broadcast features, both bearing the stamp "developed by Dicus."
Jack says 19 clients have called in to be programmed for one or the other - one asked for both. Many others, of course, already were programmed and are receiving both - The Music City Report, from the offices of the Grand Ole Opry and Howard's fine Clef's Notes daily.
"We've been trying to get AP to do something like this for years!" said a client delighted by Clef's Notes.
"Clef's Notes" runs every day and is tied to birthdays, premiere anniversaries and other milestone dates that give a classical station an excuse to program a specific piece of music.
But it also includes some classical music news, and we'll be adding more of that in coming months.
The most recent query came from WTVT in Tampa, Fla., which told Jack: "It's really good... it's great. hope you keep it up."
Jack asured client we will. Both move around midnight after editing by Penny Nelson Bartholomew, maven of the regular broadcast features package.
Cooperation Payoff in Lansing
UPI's Lansing, Mich., bureau was ahead of the competition last week when it came to a burgeoning movement in Michigan to pass a Colorado-style law banning gay rights ordinances.
A tip from a Capitol newsletter editor (sympathetic and grateful for help and tips in the past) yielded Rick Pluta an exclusive on the petition drive being organized by Grand Rapids investment broker Carl Kellogg.
UPI clients were quick to pick up on the story ahead of the rest. A Grand Rapids TV reporter told Pluta: "You were the only one (who had it). I loved that story."
The others had to play catchup the following day when Kellogg abandoned his drive under pressure from his employer.
UPI photo stringer Rich Riggins, who generally works out of Baltimore, has taken second place honors in a national photo competition run by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Riggins captured the honor in the blackhe photo end of the move.
Dallas communications magician Jose Hernandez made the final connections this week.
Inauguration Plans Take Shape
When Bill Clinton becomes 42nd president on January 20th, everyone on the Washington reporting staff . . . will have a hand in the coverage, directed by Bureau Chief Frank Csongos.
UPI Radio Network will cover live beginning at 11:30 am Eastern with Pye Chamberlayne and Howard Dicus sharing the anchor duties from their booth on the steps of the Capitol.
UPI Newspictures will have all photographers and and stringers around Washington to cover the festivities, that end with the various inaugural balls.
Coverage actually begins Sunday, January 17, when Clinton begins his trip from Monticello, Va., to Washington, following the route Thomas Jefferson took for his inauguration nearly two centuries ago.
Steven Heilbronner from from Radio and Martin Jeong from Newspictures will be either chasing or in the caravan up from Virginny. Radio producer Brad Gibson will also be along the the weekend before the inauguration, the Washington staff produced nine stories covering a wide variety of topics, from the challenges Clinton faces on Day 1, policy and domestic problems that will remain when George Bush leaves, to some of the more unusual celebrations being planned for next week, such as the FacesGrant in Richmond, Va., wrote about the average Americans invited to the Clinton party.
UPI Radio has always been know for imaginative coverage. For Martin Luther King Day, rather than do a special program, we did something kind of elegant: We simply scheduled several airings of the entire "I have a dream" speech to nearly 200,000 people during the infamous March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. The whole thing is less than 17 minutes long.
And last week we marked the release of the Elvis stamp with a 25-minute documentary on Presley, the King.
National Newspaper sales vice president John Kady has been busy holding or winning back newspaper clients who have drifted away during the past several years.
Most recently, Kady re-signed the Chicago Defender, a specialty newspaper which tried one of the competitors but decided to come back.
The Defender, a UPI only news and picture client, tried Reuters and found they were a little short on their promise of news from Illinois.
Signing up for another year:
-- The Green Bay, Wisc. Chronicle, a daily UPI news and picture client. -- The Delphos, Ohio, Herald -- Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, a twice a weeker. -- The Detroit Legal News, a daily.
On other fronts, UPI is carrying several news services and other countries, using existing communications channels:
-- The New York Times News Service to the Bangkok Post, South China Morning Post and Pacific Stars and e Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service uses UPI to get to the Hong Kong Standard newspaper. -- United Media, owned by Scripps Howard, is using UPI to in Rome. -- The Business Wire signed to use UPI to take it into Latin America.