United Press International

March 20, 2012 by staff 

United Press International, United Press International (UPI) is a once-major international news agency, whose newswires, photo, news film and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations for most of the twentieth century. Today it is much smaller, with a different customer and product focus.

Formally named “United Press Associations”, for incorporation and legal purposes, but publicly known and identified as United Press or UP, it was created by the 1907 uniting of three smaller news syndicates by Midwest newspaper publisher E. W. Scripps.

It became United Press International 51 years later with its absorption of the International News Service (INS).

As either UP or UPI, the agency was among the largest newswire services in the world, competing domestically for about 90 years with the Associated Press and internationally with AP, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

At its peak, UPI had more than 6,000 media subscribers; 2,000 full-time employees; and 200 news bureaus in 92 countries. It began to decline as the circulation of afternoon newspapers, its chief client category, began to fall with the rising popularity of television news. Its decline accelerated after the 1982 sale of UPI by the Scripps company.

The E.W. Scripps Company controlled United Press until its absorption of William Randolph Hearst’s smaller competing agency, INS, in 1958 to form UPI.

With the Hearst Corporation as a minority partner, UPI continued under Scripps management until 1982.

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