Because of an editing error, a Business article yesterday about United Press International may have given the impression that the news service plans to use States News Service for its coverage of the federal government. UPI will use States to enhance its own government coverage. (Published 8/15/90)
United Press International, in another move to cut expenses, will lay off 31 editorial employees and close five news bureaus around the country, including one in Fairfax County.
The Washington-based wire service is also expected to announce a joint venture with States News Service, another Washington-based news organization, under which UPI will rely on States for coverage of the federal government. In anticipation of the joint venture, UPI said yesterday it will reassign four reporters who had been covering Capitol Hill.
The layoffs affect 16 full-time employees and 15 probationary workers scattered throughout UPI's network of news bureaus. The cutbacks will eliminate one-person news bureaus in Green Bay, Wis.; Scranton, Pa.; Atlantic City, N.J.; Springfield, Mass.; and in Fairfax County, UPI confirmed yesterday.
In addition, news people in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Minneapolis and St. Louis were informed in letters that began arriving on Saturday that they would be dismissed.
A UPI spokesman said eliminating the positions was part of a long-term strategy by the service to save on personnel costs while sharing reporting duties with joint-venture partners. In recent weeks, UPI has announced a series of video and news-wire projects with Financial News Network, the cable television network. UPI is owned by Infotechnology Inc., which also owns 47 percent of FNN.
The cuts came as UPI celebrated the coup of being the first news organization to transmit photographs of U.S. troops arriving in Saudi Arabia to support Saudi defenses against a possible invasion by Iraqi troops. The pictures were snapped by a World Airways flight engineer, Chris Taylor, while manning a chartered transport jet. UPI moved seven of Taylor's photos over the weekend.
Speaking of the bureau closings, UPI spokesman Milt Capps said, "We aren't reducing our coverage in any of those areas. We do not consider that there will be any substantive change in our reporting from those regions."
Kevin Keane, president of the Wire Service Guild, the union representing editorial workers at UPI and the Associated Press, said the latest UPI cutbacks weren't surprising in light of a series of staff reductions UPI has made since Infotechnology's management gained control of it in early 1988. "It sounds to me like reorganization plan No. 1,000," he said.