How Did Sportswriters Get Stories to Editors Before The Internet?
by Tex Noel
I've got a question. Back in the old days like the 30's-70's, when the games were over and sportswriters would write their stories --
How did they send it to their editors?
Like if someone who covered the Braves games and the Braves were on the road, how did writers send their stories to the editors?
Western Union had teletypes in all the major schools' press boxes (three at Vanderbilt in the early 1970s) and had teletype operators (the only females allowed in college press boxes until the middle-1970s). Writers would give them a page of copy on Western Union telegraph paper (typed in their own typewriters), and then the teletypists would use a newspaper, AP or UPI code to send them to their destinations.
This was done from the 1920s - 1970s when faxes replaced Western Union teletypes, and sometimes people dictated the ends of stories on deadline after they used Western Union for the first three "takes."
At smaller schools like Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, and the like, the SIDs would drive or have a student assistant take the game stories to Western Union (usually also the Greyhound or Trailways Bus station locations) to send to Jackson, Memphis, Birmingham, and area papers. It was fun while it lasted and the teletype operators had their jobs for years.
(Submitted by Bo Carter, who has worked as an assistant and then SID at Mississippi State and is a graduate of Vanderbilt.)
The above information was taken from my book, "Stars of an Earlier Autumn" An Unofficial College Football Records Book covering the 1869-1936 seasons. ©2011
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