Internal report to UPI employees circa 1992 from former UPI executive Steve Geimann:
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UPI is alive, in business and covering the news.
Leon H. Charney, a New York businessman interested in Middle East affairs and the communications business, early Thursday offered to pay $180,000 to keep UPI in business while he assesses the company, its financial status and its chance of economic viability.
Charney said he thinks he could "transform some of the fundamental ways that they do business into a speedier technology. In other words, tranform UPI from the 20th century to the 21st century through some supertechnology. . . . Conceptually, we know what we want to do do and we're going to test the markets.
"We think that there are assets that have been underutilized at UPI which could be utilized in a more profitable way, and therefore balance out some of the negative cash flow that inevitably you get in news reporting business."
Charney was among many potential purchasers who contacted the company immediately after the announcement that U.S. Media Corp. was significantly modifying its offer for the company's assets.
The next week's operating expenses have been covered by Charney, and he intends to visit the Washington office very soon to assess what the propsects are for the future.
"I have tremendous respect for reporters because many of them have risked their lives. Many photographers have risked their lives. We've worked with them in the Desert Storm story, the scudding and in Russia during the coup.
"It's a very tough job. You put your lives out there. You work very hard. Then one day you wake up and find out that the capital wasn't there to fund you and you're out of jobs. And I have great empathy for reporters.
"On the other hand, we do live in a capitalist society and it has to be a profit center and somewhere in between we have to find the mix."
Charney identified his parters as Michael Floersheim, a Swiss resident, Ernst Strauss, a Swiss from Zurich, who has a Ph.D. in engineering and is a private investor; Elliot Levgne, president of Perry Ellis Enterprises.
Charney's offer to UPI has no guarantees. He is under no obligation to make a formal offer.
His last-minute offer averted the most dire of options facing all Unipresser: The complete shutdown of operations.
As a sidelight, I offer the following message from Luke Hill in Seattle, who was monitoring a live radio interview I was conducting as VanBennekom informed me of the deal:
geimann-wa btw, u were a big hit on kiro radio here in ar. they keep replaying the part at the end of the first intvu where you say, 'wait, there's been a development, i must go.' it has the ring of history, i must say. and t hey (a longtime happy cli) were very proud to have been broadcasting live at the moment. keep it up. rgds. hill/ar
'Czech' Out Election Results
Peter Green, the UPI superstringer in Prague, Czechslovakia, tirelessly handled the critical elections this past week, grabbing the latest results and analyzing the meaning.
Green worked by himself to cover the complex election results. He said: "The night official returns came in I found a British election analyst who was visiting Prague and used him for instant analysis.
"I also managed to put out a profile (quite good I thought) on the new Slovak leader Vladimir Meciar, substantially re-writing a news feature I'd filed the week before, and an econ story, talking with bankers and others about what the returns could mean for foreign investment.
"Don't know how it stacked up to the competition, who had five and six people working the elections for them."
Randall Scores Beat
Business Writer Virginia Randall set off a mini-firestorm among some of the nation's old-guard law firms last week when her story on Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft's 200th birthday celebration appeared in the Legal Intelligencer in Philadelphia. Cadwalader, viewed as stuffy even by the legal profession's white-glove standards, claimed it was the oldest "major" law firm in the country and the oldest on Wall Street. Rawle & Henderson, a Philadelphia firm, politely took exception to Randall's story and laid claim to the honors as the nation's oldest firm. A Cadwalder partner conceded to Randall in her follow-up story that "we were aware that there was a firm in Philadelphia that was founded eight years before our firm and the manner in which we dealt with it was to say we're the oldest Wall Street firm - unless there is a Wall Street in Philadelphia - or the oldest major firm." The American Bar Association sidestepped the tempest, saying it could not define what constitutes a "major" law firm. The New York Law Journal tried to follow up on the UPI story after Lord Day & Lord jumped into the foray and claimed it was New York City's oldest law firm - not Cadwalader. An amused editor at the Law Journal called UPI to say the warring law firms had fallen silent - at least momentarily.
Watergate 20th Anniversary
We had two excellent stories from Washington on the Watergate affair on the 20th anniversary of the scandal that toppled a president. Helen Thomas, who has covered the White House since 1961, observes that in two decades Richard Nixon has admitted no guilt or wrongdoing. And Steve Gerstel, a longtime congressional reporter, writes that it was John Dean and television that shot down the president.
The Night Desk Report
Dan Drosdroff, the World Desk overnight editor in Washington, gets to see a lot of story, and watch a lot of Cable News Network. After all, at that hour, the world is usually pretty sleepy.
But not always.
Dan sees the stories as they arrive. During this past week, he reports:
Nikola Gurovic in Sarajevo was ahead in latching onto the offensive by Bosnian defense forces using artillery le restrictions on homosexual membership.