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3 Top UPI Editors Quit, Say They Can't Assure Quality

November 03, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — United Press International's three top editors resigned today after just 10 months on the job, saying they "can no longer assure the quality and integrity of the UPI report."

Announcing resignations effective Nov. 20 were Ben Cason, editor; Barry Sussman, managing editor-national, and Kim Willenson, managing editor-international. Cason and Sussman were previously editors at the Washington Post, and Willenson was an editor at Newsweek magazine.

In a memorandum to the staff and UPI subscribers, the three editors said, "We take this action with deep regret, but with the conviction that we can no longer assure the quality and integrity of the UPI report. It is not our desire to pursue these matters here or in any other public forum."

The editors said they had come to UPI "with plans to improve the report, and feel we have helped to do so." They praised the staff as having "performed superbly under adverse conditions" and said that staff efforts "deserve continued support from the nation's news media."

They also called upon UPI's subscribers to give the next editorial management of UPI "a chance to prove that the company remains deserving of their patronage." Support from clients in the months ahead "will be vital to the survival of strong competition in American reporting of national and international news," they said.

UPI, which reportedly has been losing about $1 million a month, is in the midst of a rebuilding project started last summer by its new owner, Mexican billionaire Mario Vazquez Rana. Many newspapers have dropped the wire service in recent years, and others have been persuaded to stay on only at discount rates.

Last month, in a move that raised questions about journalistic independence, UPI undertook a two-year, $2.5-million contract to transmit news and features produced by the U.S. Information Agency to 33 news organizations in Europe.

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