October 1979 Memo From H.L. Stevenson

This is an Oct. 1, 1979, memo from H.L. Stevenson, UPI editor in chief and vice president, mark confidential, to all levels of UPI managment in news and sales:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

A Minneapolis editor, quoted anonymously in the Wall Street Journal last July 11, raised the question about UPI's accuracy.

"UPI still operates with the get the story first and worry about the facts later," the anonymous editor said. "And it uses inflated numbers in disasters to grab headlines."

This is utter nonsense but we welcome the opportunity to put the matter into perspective.

The same editor said later, at a gathering of wire editors, that he had not been quoted accurately by the Wall Street Journal reporter and what he had meant to convey was that UPI and The Associated Press both make mistakes from time to time.

We do. They do. This we'll concede.

A.P.'s track record is far worse than our own. Even a random reading of the material in this booklet will support this assertion. The examples cover a wide variey of stories, covered or produced under varying circumstances.

Use them discreetly, but use them without hesitation, when the subject of UPI's accuracy comes up in discussions with editors, publishers or others.

We have a record in which we can take pride.

We shouldn't be reluctant to take off the gloves in dispelling once and for all the canard that A.P. is more accurate than UPI.


H.L. Stevenson