Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 24, 2013
E. W. Scripps

E. W. Scripps

May 24, 1958: News agencies United Press (UP) and International News Service (INS) merge to form United Press International (UPI). Headquartered in the US, the news agency’s roots date from 1907. E. W. Scripps created the first chain of newspapers in the US. The Associated Press (AP) was formed by a group of New York City newspapers in 1846. The AP could then pool resources and provide more in-depth and accurate news from Europe. The AP refused to sell their services to several Scripps papers. So Scripps merged three regional press agencies into UP and began service on June 21, 1907.

Scripps did not limit who could purchase the service. Scripps felt the members-only philosophy of the AP was nothing less than a monopoly. Scripps also felt local editors knew more about their local markets and they were given remarkable latitude. His papers were successful and he moved to San Diego in 1898. UP was the only privately-owned major news agency at the time. AP was a conglomerate and most European agencies were run by the government; France had Havas, Britain had Reuters, and Germany had Wolff. In 1909, William Randolph Hearst came forward with INS.

Frank Bartholomew took over as President of UP in 1955 and became “obsessed” with bringing INS into UP. In order to keep anti-trust suits at bay, United Features Syndicate remained a separate company. Today called United Media, they syndicate 150 comics and editorial columns worldwide. The newly formed UPI had 6,000 employees and 5,000 subscribers, 1,000 of them newspapers. Later in the year they began UPI Audio Networks, the first wire service radio network. By 1960, they were also providing a television film service.

The UPI was not able to charge fees at the same rate as AP. With increasing TV news shows and a decline in afternoon newspapers, their customer base dropped. There were seven different owners between 1992 and 2000. In 2000, News World Communications bought UPI. Sun Myung Moon’s global conglomerate helps promote his Unification Church. Today there are only 5 reporters in the Washington, DC headquarters with several dozen stringers filing stories from around the world. With a web presence at, UPI reaches 1.8 million unique visitors each month. They continue to provide news, photos, and video.

“Far more thought and care go into the composition of any prominent ad in a newspaper or magazine than go into the writing of their features and editorials.” – Marshall McLuhan

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.” – George Orwell

“No American newspaper will print anything contrary to its own interests.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Editor: A person employed on a newspaper whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.” – Elbert Hubbard

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Edward Willis Scripps was born in 1854 in Illinois. His father was from London; his mother was the third wife. Edward was the fifth child of this union and he had seven half siblings as well. Edward and his half-sister, Ellen, worked for an older half-brother, James, when James founded The Detroit News in 1873. By 1878, Edward used a loan from James to move to Cleveland and start The Penny Press (later the Cleveland Press). He went on to purchase or begin 25 more newspapers. Edward lent money to promising local newspaper publishers. If they were successful, he would buy a 51% share of the paper and thus expanded his E. W. Scripps Company.

Also on this day Caveat Emptor – In 1626 Peter Minuit buys Manhattan.
Wedding Disaster – In 2001, the Versailles wedding hall collapsed.
Mary’s Poem – In 1830, Sarah Hale published a poem.

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