UPI/Scripps-Howard Handbook

Here's the UPI chapter in the 1981 edition of the Scripps-Howard Handbook -- under a section called: "Some Scripps-Howard Institutions."


UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL/Built By Sticking to a Fundamental Idea

United Press International is the world's largest independent gatherer and distributor of news, newspictures and broadcast services.

Unlike other international news services which operate either as cooperatives or with government subsidies, UPI has been privately owned since 1907 when it was founded by E.W. Scripps who considered the founding as one of his most gratifying accomplishments.

"I regard as my life's greatest service to the people of this country to be the creator of the U.P. . . . I have made it impossible to suppress the truth or successfully disseminate falsehood," he said some years later.

Three small regional news services were merged to form The United Press Associations, which became United Press International on May 16, 1958, when its facilities were joined with those of the International News Service and International News Photos.

The United Press Association grew up as a newspaper service, distributing its dispatches in written form to be set in type. In 1935, however, it became the first news service to make its reports available directly to radio stations. It established a radio newswire for which dispatches were written in a different style so that they could be read into the microphone -- for the ear rather than the eye.

Since then, UPI has added other forms of service as new requirements and new methods of news dissemination have appeared. Throughout its history, it has been guided by three principles. In gathering news, to report as fairly, factually and as completely without bias as is humanly possible. In distributing news, deliver it in forms and by methods most easily and efficiently useful to its subscribers. In marketing news, to make it available to any legitimate news disseminator who is willing and able to pay.

In its early days, United Press was confronted by a cartel composed of the official and semi-official news agencies of European governments. Those "allied agencies" and The Associated Press exchanged news exclusively with each other. Further, they allotted to each member the right to distribute exclusively in certain regions of the world. Only the French agency, Havas, for example, could sell its news in South America. In the Far East, the territory of Reuters, Japanese and Chinese newspapers had to depend on the British agency for their foreign news.

In its competition with the monopolistic alliance, the United Press established two new principles in news agency operation. One was that a news organization would cover the news of the world independently. The second was that newspapers anywhere could buy this service. As a result, United Press became the first North American news agency to serve newspapers in Europe, South America and the Far East. At the same time, it established its own bureaus in those areas with correspondents instructed to report the news objectively and without government or political bias.

Its success led to an invitation in 1912 for UP to ally itself with Reuters, then the dominant European news gathering organization, which Roy W. Howard, then president of the young news agency, and his board rejected. Such a move would have put United Press in alliance with agencies controlled or dominated by foreign governments, tying it in with an international news cartel which, at that time, was the foundation of AP's coverage abroad.

It was a daring decision for the young agency's young president, but it proved to be the correct one. United Press set a course of aggressive, independent coverage and broad dissemination of its services. As its foreign news resources and clientele grew, the effectiveness of the allied agencies' control gradually declined, although it was not until 1934 that they formally gave up trying to retain their particular spheres of influence.

Meanwhile, United Press continued to grow at home and abroad. Shortly after its founding, United Press began sending its news to European newspapers through Exchange Telegraph, a British agency. In 1909, United Press began a cable service to Nippon Dempo Tsushin Sha, the Japanese Telegraph News agency which later merged into Domei. This service was to continue until Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

With the outbreak of World War I, newspapers in South America began chafing under the restrictions which compelled them to get their war news from Havas. The South Americans said it was officially subsidized and covered only from the Allied side of the war. To get the news of both sides, they turned to United Press which began its first news file to South America in 1915. La Prensa, the great Buenos Aires newspaper, started using United Press service in 1919.

Direct UP service was inaugurated to newspapers in Europe in 1921, and a year later to newspapers on the Asian mainland. In 1922, British Press, Ltd., was organized to serve newspapers throughout the British Empire.

By 1929, United Press was serving 1,170 newspapers in 45 countries and territories.

During those years, in addition to pioneering new territories, United Press broke new ground in news agency style and method. It was the first service to emphasize the byline of the correspondent who wrote the dispatch. It introduced the big-name interview and developed the feature story as an important part of the daily report.

United Press also moved forward in the mechanics and technology of news dissemination and development of news services.

The Morse code operators who had sent UP reports to newspapers since 1907 were replaced by teleprinters.

Next came Teletypesetters and United Press adapted this system to its newswires in 1950. This opened the way for United Press to eliminate the tedious, slow work of setting the stock market lists in composing rooms. The computer technique made it automatic -- after Jan. 23, 1963, when the first such electronically-calculated lists of the complete New York and American Stock Exchange quotations were transmitted by UPI to newspapers.

In 1968, UPI began restructuring its worldwide communications system to permit electronic storage, editing and distribution of news reports. Switching computers were established in New York, Brussels, and Hong Kong.

The UPI aim was to connect its bureaus and clients -- worldwide -- to the editing system in New York. The first goal was reached in March 1972 when UPI put into operation the first completely electronic newsroom in the world, its New York bureau.

By July 11, 1975, all of the bureaus in the United States had been connected to the system and were writing, editing and transmitting copy with VDTs. Europe joined the system early in 1978 by which time more than 500 VDTs were on line in the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico. Planning was underway for adding Latin America and Asia.

This computer system, known as Information Storage and Retrieval (IS&R), produced new and valuable services for UPI's subscribers. One of the most successful is DataNews, which combines in a single 1200-word-per-minute channel UPI's general domestic and international news, sports, business, regional and state reports plus the services of many syndicates. It is designed for computer-to-computer delivery for subscribers' own electronic editing systems.

As communications satellites became available, UPI switched many of its overseas circuits to them.

In June 1979, UPI began moving its data processing and communications headquarters to a new $10 million Technical Systems Center on the outskirts of Dallas. The move was completed the following May, tripling the system's computer capacity and preparing UPI to meet requirements for higher delivery speeds, pagination and other developments then on the horizon.

Since the 50s, UPI has been heavily involved in newspictures.

After buying Acme Newspictures from NEA, also a Scripps-Howard property, in 1952, United Press promptly launched a program to build up its Telephoto service which then was confined to the Eastern United States. In 1954 United Press introduced facsimile for newspapers and television, an automatic receiving system which brought wired pictures within the economic reach of the smallest newspapers and television stations. This enabled UPI to fill in quickly the great gaps in the network between the East and West coasts. Today UPI newspictures are delivered by leased line throughout the United States, and by radio, cable and satellite to every continent.

In 1975 UPI introduced a new concept in photo-facsimile equipment using an electrostatic recording process. Called Unifax-II, the receiver is 100 percent solid state, completely automatic and delivers high quality prints on single sheets of dry paper.

UPI also has a portable telephoto transmitter, light but sturdy and reliable. It is completely automatic and will work on both international and U.S. Standards.

With Fox Movietone it established a film service for television stations in 1951. Now known as UPITN, this service is jointly owned by UPI and ITN of Great Britain and delivers news for television all over the world, largely by satellite. In broadcasting, UPI augmented its broadcast newswire with an audio service begun in 1958 to deliver voice reports and the actual sounds of the news for recording on tape and use by the approximately 1,000 stations it serves.

To help tailor its services to subscriber requirements, UPI formed a Newspaper Advisory Board in 1974. Made up of editorial and administrative executives representing three circulation levels in each of the five geographical areas of the country, the board works with UPI executives in the areas of service, technology and management. The UPI Broadcast Advisory Board was organized in 1976 to perform the same function in its field. Advisory boards were established in 1980 in Europe and Latin America.

All Scripps-Howard daily and Sunday newspapers and broadcast stations are served by UPI. Many of them also are members of The Associated Press. The Scripps-Howard papers are served by UPI on identically the same basis as its approximately 5,000 other subscribers in the United States.

UPI is not influenced in its treatment of the news by the editorial policies of the wide variety of publications it serves at home and in the 84 other countries. On the contrary, there is in UPI an enormous respect for news as such -- an inflexible belief in the power and effectiveness of sheer, raw facts. It has no politics, carries no torches, conducts no crusades. It merely reports.

The first president of United Press was John Vandercook, the man who sold Scripps the idea of combining the three press associations in an effort to break the grip of The Associated Press whose bylaws at the time permitted its members to blackball Scripps' applications for telegraph news service in some cities where he wanted to start newspapers.

Vandercook was only 32 but died six months later following an operation. The next president was Hamilton B. Clark, followed by C.D. Lee, who held the post until 1912.

During this period, Roy W. Howard, who was 24 years old when he was placed in charge of all news operations under Vandercook, officially was first vice president. He assumed the presidency in 1912 but retained control of the news side until he resigned in 1921 to take over business direction of the Scripps-Howard Newspapers.

Howard's successors were W.W. Hawkins (1921-22), Karl A. Bickel (1922-35), Hugh Baillie (1935-55), Frank H. Bartholomew (1955-62), A. Mims Thomason (1962-72) and Roderick W. Beaton, the incumbent.

Beaton has spent his entire career with UPI -- at home and abroad. In 1948, with a brand new journalism degree from the University of California, he joined UP in San Francisco.

He became manager of the Fresno, Calif., bureau in 1950 and subsequently was UPI general division executive at Los Angeles. He was made Southern Division manager at Atlanta in 1956, Central Division manager at Chicago in 1958 and general business manager at New York headquarters in 1962. In June 1965 he went to London as vice president and general manager for Europe, Africa and the Mideast.

He returned to New York headquarters in 1969 to assume the post of vice president and general manager. On April 28, 1972, he was elected president and chief executive officer.

Born in Escalon, Calif., April 16, 1923, Beaton came by his profession naturally; his late father, Phillip C. Beaton, was for many years executive editor of the Stockton (Calif.) Record. Rod served as an enlisted Navy correspondent with the Pacific fleet during World War II. He is married to the former Evelyn Miller of Stockton, Calif., and they have two children.

Editor-in-chief and vice president is H.L. Stevenson, who joined UP in 1953 in the Jackson, Miss., bureau. Subsequently he worked as a reporter in several Southern bureaus. He was Virginia state manager at Richmond and a business rep in North Carolina.

In 1960 UPI moved him to New York as a news editor. Two years later he returned to Atlanta as Southern Division news editor. He went back to New York in early 1965 and was named managing editor a short time later. He became editor-in-chief and vice president in 1972. He writes the weekly UPI Reporter, a newsletter dealing with media trends and happenings.

Born Nov. 23, 1929, in New Orleans, he grew up in Picayune, Miss., and got his start as a reporter and sports editor of The Picayune Item, a weekly. He attended Pearl River (Junior) College and Millsaps College in Mississippi, and later served in the Army from 1950 to 1952. Steve is married to the former LaVerne Harris of Raleigh, N.C., who was a reporter for The Raleigh Times and The Charlotte Observer. They have one daughter, Jennifer.

Other current vice presidents and officers are:

F.W. (Bill) Lyon, Newspictures
Gordon Rice, Broadcast services
Donald J. Brydon, Sales
Lawrence A. Leser, Financial
James F. Darr, Systems development
Grant Dillman, Washington, D.C. news
Claude Hippeau, International General Manager, New York
Ray Groves, Director of Computer Services, Dallas
Bob J. Kelly, General Manager of Communications, Dallas
Robert P. Paffen, Personnel
Daniel J.Castellini, Secretary and Treasurer
Frederick J. Greene, Comptroller and Assistant Secretary

International Division vice presidents are:

Eugene H. Blabey, Europe, Middle East and Africa, London
Albert E. Kaff, Asia-Pacific, Hong Kong
Julius B. Humi, senior vice president, Europe, Middle East and
Africa, London
Patrick Harden, General Manager, Canada, Toronto.

Domestic Division vice presidents are:

Thomas J. Beatty, Southern, Atlanta
Kenneth J. Braddick, New England, Boston
Robert E. Crennen, Central, Chicago
Leroy A. Hamann, Rocky Mountain, Denver
Travis M. Hughs, Southwest, Dallas
Richard A. Litfin, Pacific, senior marketing vice president,
San Francisco
John E. Mantle, Pacific, San Francisco
John W. Payne, Eastern, Pittsburgh
Eugene Poythress, Mid-Atlantic, Washington, D.C.
Ian Westergren, Metropolitan, New York

Latin American Division general managers are:

Luiz Menezes, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Alberto J. Schazin, Southern South America, Buenos Aires
Pieter van Bennekom, Caribbean, San Juan, P.R.
John F. Virtue, Northern Latin America, Mexico City