Sixty years ago, before cell phones, the Internet and wristwatches that talked, The News & Observer decided to see how quickly the newspaper could report the final score of a basketball game.
Everett Case was the N.C. State coach and State’s Reynolds Coliseum was the largest basketball arena in the state. At the next game in Reynolds Coliseum we had a reporter on a coliseum pay phone connected to a linotype operator in The N&O composing room. At the final whistle he quickly gave the linotype operator the score and a sentence or two about the game. The N&O’s front sports page was complete except for a small space for this score. The type was set, a page mat rolled, a metal cast of the page prepared and put on the press.
The first 100 or so papers off the press were scooped up and rushed out to Reynolds Coliseum. Fans were still exiting the coliseum and many were amazed to be handed a copy of the next morning’s N&O containing the final score of the game as they were just leaving.
We never did it again.
The writer, a 42-year employee of The N&O, served in various advertising posts before retiring as vice president and associate publisher in 1991.