I just finished reading “Deadline Every Minute” for the third time and I got as much pleasure from the current reading as I did many years ago.
Written by Joe Alex Morris, it is the history of the United Press and it spans more than 50 years, from its beginnings as an independent news service founded by the owners of the Scripps Newspapers in competition with the Associasted Press. That competition was expanded when the Hearst Newspapers started the International News Service to compete with AP and UP.
In many respects “Deadline Every Minute” is the history of the United States as recorded by the dedicated men and women who reported “the news” in the early 20th century and then throughout two World Wars.
The United Press was overshadowed in the early days by the Associated Press, whose member companies included the major newspapers throughout the United States, along with reciprocal agreements it had with other major news services throughout the world.
That changed during World War II when the UP had to create its own bureaus overseas to gather news throughout the world — while the AP was shut off from its former affiliate news organizations in Germany, Italy and elsewhere around the world.
We often praise the heroics of the members of our armed forces in battle, which is well deserved. But there is nothing else (at least in my mind) that compares with the day-in and day-out struggle of UP men and women, and other wartime correspondents, as they gathered and disseminated the news of the day here and overseas to newspapers (and later to radio and TV audiences) throughout the the world. Many of those reporters became well-known broadcasters in radio and television in later years.
I may be partial, since United Press International is where I gained my initial experience as a reporter — a foundation that has served me well as a newsman and editor for more than 50 years covering events all over the world.
More important, the stories of the men and women who worked for the United Press are as exciting as you will find in the latest thriller by the world’s best authors.
I won’t attempt to capture here the danger, and in some cases the heroics, involved in gathering and disseminating news during wartime. Some UPI newsmen and women were killed in the process and others wound up in prison camps during World War II.
I wholeheartedly recommend the book that was written in the 1950s. As a result, you will only find in a library these days — and the library may have to order it for you. It’s well worth the effort.
Beau Weisman, Editor