Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ... a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
Ruth Brown, the main character in my stories, is a small
town reporter in New Hampshire who signs up with the Associated Press (AP) to
cover World War II in Europe. Why didn’t I have Ruth join the United Press
Associations (UP)? To be honest I simply picked one, thinking it didn’t matter.
Now that I’ve researched both organizations, I realize how very different they
By the time WWII began, the AP was nearly 100 years old
having been started by five New York City newspapers in 1846. Prior to that,
news was delivered through the United States Postal Service. With the Mexican
War in full swing, the AP needed a faster system. As a result the five
newspapers joined together to fund a pony express route through Alabama.
Mark Kellogg, AP reporter who died with Custer
Time passed, and the AP took advantage of new technology as
it was invented. First the railroad then telegraph and teletype, followed by wire
then radio. In 2005, the AP created a digital database that according to their
website has “allowed the agency to deliver news instantly…nearly as quickly as
the news itself unfolds.”
On the other hand, United Press Association was an upstart
in the early days of WWII. Founded in 1907 it was just over thirty years old at
the start of the war. The founder, E.W. Scripps, began UP in an effort to break
the AP monopoly on the U.S. news dissemination industry. UP had fewer resources,
so armed itself with a “we try harder attitude” and reporters who would do just
about anything to get the story. UP reporters were called “Unipressers” and
were known for being highly competitive. With no formal training program,
journalists were expected to “sink or swim” on their own.
In 1935, UP became the first major news service to supply
news to radio stations, beating out AP by several years. The organization grew
through WWII, and in 1952 acquired Acme News pictures which enabled them to
offer news picture services. During its heyday, UP had more than 6,000
employees and over 6,200 subscribers.
In 1958, UP merged with International News to become United
Press International, however the company did not fare well during the rise of
television and struggled to maintain its market. A series of owners and two
bankruptcy filings have taken their toll on the organization. As of 2007, UPI
no longer has a White House correspondent or UN coverage, instead focusing expanding operations in the Middle East,
Central Asia and Africa, and reporting on security threats, intelligence and
energy issues. Now, located in only six major cities, the UPI website cites its
use of “lay reporters, photographers and videographers, and a plethora of
sources to publish and receive information.”
As a scrappy,
young “newshound,” Ruth may find the United Press Associations more to her
liking. What do you think?
A freelance writer for over ten years, Linda Matchett
also writes historical fiction. She is currently seeking a publisher for her
series about war correspondent Ruth Brown. Visit her at www.LindaShentonMatchett.com