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Top UPI Editor Resigns; Cohen May Return

November 26, 1986|THOMAS B. ROSENSTIEL

The temblors continue in the management offices at United Press International, the country's No. 2 general wire service. In the latest upheaval, Editor-in-Chief Malcolm R. (Mike) Hughes has resigned and President Milton Benjamin has asked Managing Editor Ron Cohen, who was fired three weeks ago, to return. Cohen is considering the offer.

Hughes told reporters that he resigned after a dispute with Benjamin over who had ultimate control over hiring and firing in the newsroom and also because of personal reasons. Sources inside UPI said the personal reasons involved a dispute over UPI's debts to Hughes relating to the company's bankruptcy in 1985-86.

Benjamin, however, told reporters that Hughes had as much authority over the news operation as any editor would.

The upheaval dates back to the purchase of UPI out of bankruptcy in June by Mexican newspaper publisher Mario Vazquez Rana. Although UPI has made several personnel changes under Vazquez Rana, the most controversial proved to be the firing of Cohen. The same day, UPI announced that President Maxwell McCrohon had resigned and that Benjamin, a former Washington Post reporter and now management consultant, would replace him.

McCrohon, sources said, resigned in part because he did not agree with Cohen's ouster.

Officially, Hughes took responsibility for Cohen's firing, but sources inside UPI said Vazquez Rana was involved. UPI apparently decided to rethink Cohen's ouster after it proved unpopular with UPI staff.

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