The reporters and columnists of the Pauliapolis Sentinel fret over the implications for them personally of the management's employment of a market research firm. Their concern is that main stream reader interests will favor the scores of the writers of some subjects. Sports columnist Abe Fuller asserts that reader preoccupation with politics makes it easy to write about politics acceptably. Political columnist Adele Freedman responds that sports writing has the easiest to impress readership of all. The disagreement leads to a wager. Each columnist will write the other's columns under the other's byline for the two weeks of the market research. Whoever gets the higher ratings writing as the other person will receive a week's midwinter vacation in the Caribbean at the expense of the loser. During the market survey, the paper receives a confidential report of a local scandal involving both politics and pro sports. Assigned to investigate the story, the two competing columnists uncover complications that change the outcome of their wager and their feelings about each other.