International News Service
Always a distant third to its larger rivals, the Associated Press and the United Press Association, INS combined in 1958 with United Press to become United Press International (UPI). The Hearst newsreel series Hearst Metrotone News (1914-1967) was released as International Newsreel from January 1919 to July 1929 after INS. New York City's all-news radio station, WINS originally took its name from INS.
Famous INS bylines included Floyd Gibbons, Jack Lait, Bob Considine, Richard Tregaskis, Barry Faris, Pierre J. Huss, William Kinsey Hutchinson, Vann Kennedy, Irving R. Levine, Anna Louise Strong and Jack Singer.
During World War II, INS correspondent Jack Singer was among the 193 men who died when the aircraft carrier USS Wasp sank in the Pacific in September 1942. He was awarded the Purple Heart and a liberty ship was named after him, the SS Jack Singer.
Also assigned to cover the war in the Pacific, INS correspondent Richard Tregaskis spent two months following U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal. Tregaskis' book, Guadalcanal Diary, recorded his experiences at the pivotal battle against the Japanese.
A profile of INS veteran Jack Lait in the August 30, 1948, edition of Time Magazine told of perhaps the biggest scoop in the history of the Hearst wire. Lait "had graduated to the editorship of King Features Syndicate in Manhattan when a friendly Chicago cop telephoned him a mysterious summons in 1934," Time said. "Lait rushed to Chicago and got his most famous scoop, standing a few feet away when G-men shot down Badman John Dillinger."
Lait's lead was a classic:
"John Dillinger, ace bad man of the world, got his last night—two slugs through his heart and one through his head. He was tough and he was shrewd, but he wasn't as tough or as shrewd as the federals . . . Their strength came out of his weakness—a woman."
Time Magazine reported on the news agency's demise in its June 2, 1958, edition:
"In wire rooms from San Diego to Karachi, the teletypes of the United Press and International News Service clattered out their biggest news of the day: "The United Press Associations and International News Service joined forces today around the world in the creation of a single news agency named 'United Press International.'
"For both services, the merger made solid sense. Founded in 1907 by E. W. ("Damned Old Crank") Scripps, the bustling, colorful U.P. last year grossed $28.8 million, but its profit margins have always been as thin as newsprint. With the merger, the U.P. eliminated a pesky competitor, increased its domestic clientele by some 120 daily newspapers to a total around 950 (v. the A.P.'s 1,243), will have "available" the services of such well-read I.N.S. byliners as Bob Considine, Ruth Montgomery and Louella Parsons, who will remain on the Hearst payroll. There was no question about who was taking over whom. U.P. will control 75% of U.P.I.'s stock, and U.P. President Frank H. Bartholomew will become president of the new agency.
"For I.N.S., the deal was even more logical. Started in 1909 by William Randolph Hearst, who wanted his own wire service for his own papers, I.N.S. has long been in trouble. Kept going more out of Hearstly pride than profit, it averaged an annual loss of some $3,000,000 over the past few years. To compete with the A.P.'s thoroughness and the U.P.'s color, I.N.S. fell back on splash-and-dash journalism. On a coronation story, editors could rely on the A.P. for the dimensions of the cathedral, the U.P. for the mood of the ceremony, and the I.N.S. (sometimes) for an interview with the barmaid across the way."
In the early days of INS, the news service would allegedly take news stories off of AP bulletin boards on the East Coast and sell the same stories to the West Coast. AP sued INS and the case reached the Supreme Court in the seminal case International News Service v. Associated Press of 1918. In the case, Justice Pitney ruled that INS was infringing on AP's "lead-time protection", and that this was an unfair business practice.