The Introduction

Here's the introduction to a 1979 guide from David Moffit on how to cover football for UPI. Moffit was the longtime veteran sports editor for the Southern Division. The booklet -- with lime-green covers -- was illustrated by Jack Wilkinson, veteran sportswriter-editor, who directed the AJ NewsCenter:


("When the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he marks not that you won or lost -- but how you played the game" . . . Grantland Rice, patron saint of sportswriters.)

You are the UPI staffer assigned to cover the annual football mismatch between State University and Podunk College. The final gun sounded just 10 seconds ago and the entire stadium is in an uproar because underdog Podunk has just upset mighty State in the shocker of the season.

Podunk fans are hysterical, dancing in the aisles, filling the air with their victory cries. The Podunk players are fighting their way through an uncontrollable crowd of well-wishers.

What are you doing?

If you are a competent wire service reporter, you are busy filing your story.

That is what this booklet is all about -- helping you provide the best, fastest and most accurate football coverage possible. Anything else is second-best...and NO Unipresser should settle for that.

By the very nature of the importance given to football -- especially here in Dixie where it is a religion, not a sport -- by its millions of fans and our many subscribers, football coverage is a highlight in the year of a UPI sportswriter...and the success of that football coverage is the yardstick by which the UPI sports report is most often judged.

Nearly every Unipresser, especially those working out of the smaller bureaus, is called upon at some time to cover a football game. Too many, too often, go off on such an assignment ill prepared -- and their results show it.

This booklet is designed to help prepare the uninitiated for such an assignment. Much of it may appear old hat to some of our veterans, but all of us may gain by refreshing our memories.

This supplements, not supercedes, annual instructions from UPI's New York sports department.

David Moffit Southern Sports Editor United Press International 1979

Next: The Assignment