British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

UPITN resource launched

UPITN – September 1973: A Month in the Life of a Global News Agency
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UPITN was a major global television news agency. It had an extensive network of foreign bureaux with crews filming events and people to supply broadcast news companies with material.  In the 1970s, along with Visnews, it was the key player in international newsgathering providing content that has informed our collective visual memory of that era.

An initial rough cut of world news for September 1973

The news as it was filmed, not as broadcast

These 362 stories from September 1973 represent UPITN’s entire output for the month.

This snapshot encompasses the full spectrum of content with international diplomacy, conflict and its resolution occupying the same space as sport, technology and fashion.

The material itself is fragmentary by nature mainly consisting of raw uncut colour footage, either mute or with ambient sound. Mixed in with this are odd black and white items, some commentary and the occasional edited background item.

A unique insight into the process of television news production

Every one of these events was deemed newsworthy enough for the agency to send cameramen to document it. Most of this footage was then syndicated, with broadcast news companies selecting items and editing the material to their own requirements before transmission. The new BUFVC microsite includes detailed case study built around the coup in Chile as well much contextual information. Highlights include:

  • History – a brief history of UPITN
  • Operation – an outline of the operation in 1973
  • TV news agencies – a short history of television news agencies
  • Chile case study – including interactive Researching Footage timeline and Data Visualisation
  • Film restoration – how this 16mm collection was restored by AP Archive

For further details, visit:

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