No Substitute for Accuracy

Here's the "No Substitute for Accuracy" section of David Moffit's 1979 guide on how to cover football for UPI.

Be sure of your facts throughout your story. The BIG THREE in covering football for UPI are ACCURACY, SPEED and GOOD WRITING. In the final analysis, we are most often judged by our ACCURACY. Sports Editors have short memories about our good performances (they expect them from us), but an error in fact can plague us for a long time,

There simply is N O excuse for being wrong. If in doubt, CHECK. If you are not sure whether that was No. 30 Jones or No. 20 Brown who made that long run, check with the official scorekeeper at the time. Make sure your lead, your summary and your statistics all agree. (This also holds true for yardage figures although you can sometimes use approximate figures in your story rather than delay it by waiting for the official statistics.

Nothing brings transmission of your story to a grinding halt faster than a question somewhere along the line regarding accuracy. When a relay point has any reason to doubt some phase of your story, it becomes the responsibility of that point to hold up your copy until the question can be resolved.

You should have been keeping your scoring summary up to date as the game progressed and it should be ready for filing the moment you are through with your story. If the press box statistician knows his business, the official team statistics should be ready for filing by the time your summary clears.

Don't leave your telephone until you have received word from the bureau to which you are filing that there are no additional needs; that you have completed your assignment to everyone's satisfaction. Save all of your notes and your copy in case there are questions after you leave the press box. Sometimes other writers make mistakes and you are challenged to prove that you -- not they -- are right.

Anyway, you will likely be called upon to do a followup story on the game for Monday editions so you will need your notes and whatever copy (coaches' quotes, etc.) which are provided in the press box after the game is over.

Next: DICTATING (Or Why Mumbles Can Never Be a Unipresser)