Press: High Wire Act

U.P.I. reaches for a safety net

In the summer of 1907, Edward Wyllis Scripps, the eccentric Ohio newspaper entrepreneur, strung together a ragtag assortment of reporters, telegraph operators and rewrite men to form the United Press. Though the fledgling wire service had just $500 in working capital, Scripps gave it a difficult mission: take on the mighty Associated Press, a cooperative owned by its client newspapers and established more than half a century earlier. By late summer U P. had miraculously captured 369 U.S. papers as clients, and it looked as if Scripps' folly might soon overtake A.P. as the nation's premier...

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