Geimann Report XX

Internal report to UPI employees circa 1992 from former UPI executive Steve Geimann:

UPI-Newser 11-6 (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.)


We have a winner!

United Press International reporters and editors in all U.S. bureaus pulled out all the stops Nov. 3 to cover presidential, Senate, gubernatorial and state-level races. International bureaus provided extensive reaction.

Using stringer networks, access to official vote counts and the last-minute feed from News Election Service, UPI provided an up-to-date vote count on the most important elections.

Radio, Newspictures and wireside deployed all available staff for nighttime coverage.

In Washington, Managing Editor Bob Kieckhefer, Bureau Chief Frank Csongos, Senior Political Editor David Wiessler, White House reporter Lori Santos and the staff maintained a steady report on national races.

Steve Gerstel and Robert Shepard wrote about Congress, Greg Henderson followed the death penalty issue, Steve Heilbronner covered governors and, in Seattle, Luke Hill filed stories on ballot issues.

UPI Radio's Howard Dicus and Pye Chamberlayne offered English coverage four times an hour, while Jorge Orellana went on the air twice an hour to update Radio Noticias affiliates.

AME Jack Wilkinson tracked electoral votes while Chris Nagi of the Universal desk handled twice-hourly updates for broadcasters. Carole Fleck covered other news.

Universal deskers Bill Parkinson and Jerry Kronenberg, working non-election copy, joked about having as many people working every night. They handled a flood reax from UPI's international bureaus that arrived before Clinton accepted victory.

Critical were the comms staff nationwide, especially Ron Sharrock in Washington, who maintained the tubes, phones and NES printer well into the wee hours.

Clients Comment

Our clients noticed, too.

Carolyn Walter, news director of WMHK Radio in Columbia, S.C., wrote to UPI Radio: "Well done on election night. We used your reports throughout the evening - They were clear and well-produced. Thanks for adding to our coverage."

Marc Magliari, news director at WMAY, Springfield, Ill., says wireside gave the other guys a run for their money.

"It seems to me you were competitive both on the national and local levels," said Magliari, who sees both wires at his station. "On the local level, I liked your election subs much better than their election news minutes. You put a lot more copy on the wire. There was more usable stuff to read."

The Medina, Ohio, Gazette, a morning newspaper relying exclusively on UPI, was satisfied with our election night coverage, saying, "It was cool."

A picture taken with a digital camera attached to a telephone line at the State House in Little Rock, Ark., allowed photographer Cliff Owen-WAP to send an image of Clinton's victory appearance 30 minutes after the event.

La Opinion, a UPI client in Los Angeles, used the photo on its front page.

Two Minnesota radio clients called St. Paul the day after the election, offering unsolicited compliments about pre-election coverage and Election Night work.

Imaginative Systems

UPI managers and staffer developed some imaginative ways to cover the vote count and results on Election Night.

The Chicago bureau hired college kids to call county clerks and collect returns on national races and on statewide referenda and judicial elections.

The numbers were entered into a spreadsheet program on two PCs to produce tabs - a process used in Illinois for several elections and can be competitive with anyone's count.

In Florida, Joe Chrysdale in Miami connected his PC to the Secretary of State's system for state results, while Les Kjos and Jane Sutton filed state and congressional tabs and stories on constitutional amendments.

Tallahassee staffer Al Schoch helped track down quotes and wrote stories on the state legislative races, which ended with the 20-20 split in the state Senate. Regional Editor Tobin Beck wrote the main lead and kept in touch with political experts in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and South Carolina to make calls in presidential and congressional races.

Schoch reports that his contacts with access to both wires reported UPI ahead through the night by up to 30 minutes in reporting state returns - and competitive on national results.

Stan Darden directed Georgia coverage while Steve Glasser wrote congressional and Senate stories with help from Charles Taylor.

Texas had its hands full with presidential wanna-bes. In Dallas, Harihar Krishnan and Dick Kelsey reported on maverick candidate Ross Perot. Krishnan, who has covered Perot from the start, filed from a UPI Zentec in the Perot press room at the Grand Keimpinski Hotel by DA communications chief Jose Hernandez. Kelsey reported for UPI Radio from the posh North Dallas Hotel and the friendly studios of KERA-FM, an NPR affiliate near the DA bureau.

Former Unipresser Gary Edwards snapped great photos of the billionaire dancing with his wife, Margot. Houston bureau manager Paula Dittrick flew from Houston to help Southwest Regional Editor Phil Magers and Bill Ryan pump out copy and snap tabs. Austin bureau manager Mark Langford wrote on the top races and former Austin Unipresser Terry Donahue phoned in snap tabs to DA.

In Houston, White House veteran Helen Thomas and Radio correspondent Bill Small watched President Bush, along with photographers Bruno Torres-HSP and Joshua Roberts-MHP.

In Arkansas, Tom Ferraro and Stephen Buel watched Clinton for the wire, while Radio's Jay Sapir from Chicago filed audio and Cliff Owen and Martin Jeong snapped the photos.

Oldtimers pitched in to help. In Minnesota, retired staffer Dick McFarland, former UP editor Pete Pafiolis and Nikki Debev extremely close Michigan house races, after AP closed up and went home.

As a result, Pluta was able to report several hours ahead that control of the House had switched to the Republicans because of several races including upset of the Democratic house speaker. Rick also got the first ie new GOP house speaker. AP-only media, including Michigan public radio, said rox unhad for hours.

State Editor Jim Campbell reports: "Counting was extremryone, because of heavy turnout and outdated election procedures. So we were competitive all night, with DU crew outcalling to county clerks. Party officials who had access to rox said our figures were virtually the same.

UPI Scores Big at Canadian Convention

UPI was a big hit at this week's Canadian Association of Broadcasters convention and trade show nadian General Manager Mike Barrett was out there, helping to staff a booth belonging to Standard Broadcast News at the trade show. As part of the display, the booth contained a printer running UPI news, and a speaker with Standard's Radio Network.

When news of Magic Johnson's re-retirement broke Monday, the booth was swamped with people looking for more information. But Monday's throng didn't compare to the crowd that gathered at our booth for Tuesday's election results. Many of those at the trade shows were from U.S. firms, so there were looking for specific results about their home states, in addition to more general results. UPI had it all.

"I think in those two days, we showed an awful lot of folks in Canada and in the broadcasting industry that we're just as strong as ever," Barrett said.

Experience Pays Off for Scott

Veteran Hollywood columnists years of keeping an ear to the ground paid off Monday when he received word that Hal Roach had died.

One of Scott's friends, a producer acquainted with the m legend, called Scott only a couple of hours after Roach's death, and Scott turned to his priceless Rolodex and went to work tracking down family members to vtes after Roach's son-in-law confirmed it, UPI had a story on the wire in plenty of time for California early-evening newscasts. Bill Ryan-DA tracked down GeFarland in Fort Worth, informed him of Roach's death and got great quotes from one of the few surviving actors who had the privilege of working with Roach in ts.

Judging from when obit was first heard on ROX-only all-news radio station in HC, A.P. apparently lagged by about 90 minutes.