US news agency UPI gets new owner
New York, USA
May 16, 2000
New York (dpa) - The American news agency, United Press International (UPI) which has been financially strapped for years, is once again getting a new owner. As announced by UPI on Monday, the 93 year old business is being sold to the News World Communications.
The seller is the Worldwide News Inc., a daughter company of Middle East Broadcasting which, in turn, belongs to Saudi business people. The conditions of the sale were not named.
News World Communications, which includes "The Washington Times" newspaper, is controlled by the Unification Church of Korean preacher Dong Moon Joo.
As News World stated in a press release, it was intended that UPI be continued as an independent news collection agency and that new technologies and operating practices be introduced. UPI's top manager is Arnaud de Borchgrave.
UPI News agency changes hands again
May 16, 2000
The almost one hundred year old news agency, United Press International (UPI), has again changed hands. As a spokesman for the News World Communications company stated on Monday in Washington, the group, which is associated with the Moon sect, has taken over the name and mark rights of the UPI. It was said that UPI will continue to be operated as an independent news agency and will be made more open for new technologies; that would include primarily the providing of news reports for the internet site. According to a UPI announcement, all positions of the agency will be retained. Those employed, however, said they had received their last wage and earnings statement for the United Press International Acquisition Corp (UPIA) on Monday. Part of the media empire of News World is the U.S. daily newspaper, "Washington Times."
After several changes of ownership the UPI, which was once among the most important news agencies of the world, last belonged to the Saudi corporation of Worldwide News. The new owner did not make a statement as to the purchase price. The recent sale hardly caused any surprise in media circles. News World manager Larry Moffit promised that UPI would continue to be independent and maintain its reputation, which it has had for generations, as an honest, fair reporter of news. UPI President Arnaud de Borchgrave will continue at the head of the organization. De Borchgrave was chief of the "Washington Times" from 1985 to 1991; prior to that he had worked for 25 years with "Newsweek" news magazine.
UPI was founded in 1907 by E.W. Scripps as United Press Associations; in 1958 the corporation merged with legendary U.S. media mogul William Randolph Hearst's International News Service. Renowned journalists like Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Helen Thomas and John Chancellor got their start in the agency. Reports from the front during the Second World War made the company world famous. UPI, which also used to be present on the German market, ran into difficulties in the 1980s. Many UPI correspondents since then work from home; the main customers are web sites on the internet. Last August, UPI sold its TV news service to its competitor, Associated Press (AP); about 50 employees lost their jobs.
The "Washington Times" has a reputation as a conservative paper. Five leading writers left the newspaper after, according to what the journalists said, the owner had wanted to make changes to a leading article about the South Korean president and used pressure in doing so. The sect, which is officially called the Unification Church, centers around the 80 year old founder and company chief, Sun Myung Moon, and is headquartered in Korea, but recruits for members primarily in the USA. According to its own statement, the organization has 4.5 million members worldwide. Critics accuse Moon of running a personality cult and portraying himself as a messiah. In the USA, the Moon sect also controls a television channel, a film studio, a travel agency, as well as a university.
May 16, 2000
Helen Thomas, the "grand old Dame" of the journalist corps in the White House, has left the United Press International (UPI) news agency. On Tuesday in Washing, the reason she gave for giving notice was the takeover of UPI by media corporation News World Communications, which is associated with the Moon sect. As doyenne of the Washington journalists, the 79 year old Thomas was always permitted to ask the President the first question. She recently published a book entitled "In the first rows of the White House" [not sure of exact wording of English title ... translator]. The media empire of News World already includes the conservative U.S. daily newspaper, "Washington Times."
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