Here's a May 13, 1988, letter from UPI Washington bureau chief David Wiessler to UPI reporters selected to cover the 1988 Democratic and Republican national conventions (list of reporters at the end):
You have been picked to attend the national political conventions this summer. Some of you have done this before but for many this will be the first time. Conventions are a lot of hard work and many long hours, but they also can be fun. This year they will also be hot.
We are not taking as many regional reporters this year as we have in the past, and we are taking fewer to the Republicans than to the Democrats. This means each reporter will be assigned more state delegations than in the past so there may be whole delegations that you are responsible for that you never have to write a story about. In other cases, you may do one bc-story a day whereas we may used to have written both amers and pmers. It should all even out in the end.
Enclosed is a copy of the assignments for each reporter at each convention.
The job of the regional reporter is twofold. First, he or she is responsible for filing state reports back to the state or region. Secondly, the regional reporter acts as the national link with each delegation. If something happens of national interest in a particular state delegation, the reporter assigned to that state is responsible.
That is why all 50 states and the District of Columbia are assigned. As I said, you may never send back any copy for some of the states. But if a big story breaks out of the delegation, you will need at least a contact.
If that has all confused you, you will get many chances to ask me about your coverage before the convention begins. We will have a general staff meeting in the convention workspace at 10 a.m. Sunday before the convention.
The convention dates are: Democrats, July 18-21 in Atlanta. Republicans, Aug. 15-18 in New Orleans.
Now for some things that you can start doing now:
--Start making contacts with the party leaders in each delegation. You probably already know the ones in your home state. For other states, your party officials can probably help. Also you can check with our bureaus in those states. As a last resort, contact Bud Newman in the WA bureau and he can probably give you some leads.
---In many cases, especially with the big delegations, it is good for the regional reporter to stay right with the delegation in its hotel. Start now on making reservations. We will have rooms for other staff and if you get in a bind we can provide one. Also, if you think it may not be of great value to stay with one delegation over another, get in touch with me.
---In some cases, it helpful to travel into the convention with the delegation. In many cases, it is of no value, either because of timing or cost. If you don't think it is necessary to travel with your delegation let me know soon since we will be making all other travel arrangements out of here.
---We want all reporters to travel into the city the Saturday before the convention starts. That way they be on hand for the staff meeting and can get right to work for Monday papers. If you will be delayed, let me know. All regional reporters will be leaving the convention city the Friday after the sessions end -- in this case July 22 or Aug. 19.
---We will have cars and drivers to get you around the city. I will tell you more about this as we get closer to the convention.
---It would be good if every reporter brought a Tandy or Radio Shack along for at least a backup. In the workspace at the convention hall we will have new Zentecs. Most of the time they will be available for anybody's use. However, late at night, there are often more people needing to write than there are tubes available. Also, it often is more pleasant and easier to handle oniters back in the hotel room than in the workspace.
---In the past, we have brought in two editors from WA just to file the regional copy. Since we are cutting back staffing across the board, we will no longer have these editors available. All regional copy will be filed directly back to the state or region.
---Because of this, get in touch with the state editors or bureau managers in the states you are assigned to so you understand exactly what their needs are.
---I will be getting in touch with you again about credentials, logistics and other last minute things.
If you have questions please feel free to call. I will be going to Moscow for the U.S.-Soviet summit May 25 to June 3. In my absence you can contact Arnie Sawislak. See you this summer.
List of states/regional reporters assigned for 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta:
1. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine Connecticut (Goldsmith-BH)
2. New York, New Jersey, Delaware (Cross-KT)
3. Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia (Leonard-CZ)
4. Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, North Carolina, South Carolina (Click-RV)
5. Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi (Scriva-WA)
6. Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana (Green-NV)
7. Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota (Parks-DU)
8. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (Kuczka-HX)
9. Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma (Harris AG)
10. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (Lowry-US)
11. Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming (Towslee-GP)
12. California, Hawaii, Nevada (Lavally-BC)
List of states/regional reporters assigned for 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans:
1. Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut (Szkotak-HM)
2. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Cole-HG)
3. North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina (Mauldin-CT)
4. Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia (Lobsenz-WA)
5. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin (Abbott-WA)
6. Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana (Mould-AJ)
7. Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska (Brewer-NW)
8. Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona (Langford-US)
9. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota (Spar-AR)
10. California, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska (Lavally-BC)