The highest standard of authenticity and accuracy is one goal SPORTS ILLUSTRATED set for itself from its first issue. The extent to which SI has achieved this (it is pretty hard to reach 100%) has been pleasantly reflected in a number of ways—for example, in letters of commendation from people of honored reputation in various fields of sport, in inquiries from readers for answers to sundry questions of sport, in a request from the U.S. Information Agency to prepare for world-wide circulation an exhibit on the role of sports in America today.
About a month ago I happened into a further example of regard for SI's authoritativeness which could hardly have come from a more eminent judge.
On the Tuesday after the bowl games a cousin of mine asked me what to expect if her daughter called a certain SI telephone number. The daughter, with a school assignment to write on a current events subject, had read the New York Times that morning, had chosen the bowl games. Looking for background material, she had called the Times with a barrage of questions: Who played the first one? Where? How many games have been played? What teams have won most often? Why is a bowl called a bowl? The Times most co-operatively offered intelligence on the events of the preceding day but suggested a different source for the historical matters: an SI telephone extension.
Tracking this down for my cousin, I found that it rings the bell in our 17-month-old Index Department. To have it recommended by the newspaper which in 105 years of existence has established some records of its own for authenticity and accuracy in all areas of news seemed to me the warmest praise possible.
February 6, 1956
As it turned out, all the information was not on the tip of SI Index's tongue. But the two bowl PREVIEWS which we have published contained much of it. And our Index Department said it would try to send more later.
Among the "more later," the best SI could do on one question was that a bowl is called a bowl because it's shaped like a bowl. I don't know how much this added to the paper of my first cousin once removed. But I am glad to report that, thanks in part to both the New York Times and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, she received a mark which will not get in the way of her promotion to the seventh grade.