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How does Sports Illustrated find its people?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sirvaliantbrown, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. I was reading about Arash Markazi, the former college hotshot who now writes for SI.com, and wondered about the backgrounds of Kelly Dwyer and Farrell Evans, two relatively recent additions to the roster (Evans more than Dwyer). The name Yi-Wyn Yen, which I first noticed in the June 12 issue, was also unfamiliar to me.

    I did a Lexis search on Yen and found 13 results, most of them fine-but-unremarkable golf stories from several years back. (I know that she did a master's in journalism at Stanford.) All my Lexis searches for Kelly Dwyer bring up SI-related things on the one I'm searching for and the rest on female Kelly Dwyers. And my Lexising for Evans gives me nothing at all.

    Anybody have any insight on how SI does things? I'm not angling for a job - lowly young intern here - but I'm curious.
  2. sgaleadfoot

    sgaleadfoot Member

    so if they scout the coyote ugly in Tally, does that mean Jen Hilgreth will be a writer for them soon?? ;)
  3. tonysoprano

    tonysoprano Member

    Well, I've known people who knew people that got jobs there at SI.com.

    But used to be (and I'm sure to some extent it still is) they come after you. I know that's what happened with the great ones (Jenkins, Reilly, Smith).
  4. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    I'm pretty sure a guy named Sandy discovered Kelly Dwyer.

    Couldn't resist.

    Hi Sandy!
  5. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong - this is the way it used to work, at least for the magazine.

    This was one way to get in.

    They would hire smart kids out of good colleges - hot shot types - but you didn't necessarily have to have great clips. It wasn't about writing at first. The lowest rung was "reporter," which did research, fact-checking, phone calls, etc. If you busted your ass as a reporter, played politics and didn't offend anybody, you'd eventually get a shot to write a blurb or something. If they were impressed with that, you might get sent on the road to write a blurb. If all went well, eventually you'd be writing many blurbs and had the potential to be promoted to writer-reporter, or something like that. A writer-reporter would eventually be assigned a story perhaps... and on up. I think a few of their big writers may have come up that way.

    Many others came from big papers and entered at the writer level, I think.
  6. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    You nailed it. They hire "reporters" out of college. Pretty competitive to get your foot in the door, though. The job entails doing a lot of legwork for writers, but you occasionally get a chance at a front of the book piece. Haven't really paid much attention to bylines in SI lately, but the "Where are they now?" piece in the front of the book was typically written by a reporter, or a writer-reporter, which is the next rung up. Some reporters prove they're studs and progress to writers, senior writers or editors. Many use it as a stepping stone. One guy I know followed the one-in-a-million progression from undergrad to reporter at SI to major beat at one of the largest metros in the country.
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Some of the best reporters I know came up that way at SI...Armen Keteyian, for example was a writer-reporter before leaving for other adventures (and despite what you may think of his TV role, he is one of the most tenacious, aggressive reporters in the biz).

    Unfortunately for a lot of those other reporters, their reporting skills exceed their writing skills, and they never get the big break at SI.

    And to answer the original question, Kelly Dwyer is male, a good friend, and a terrific writer who busted his ass to earn that job.
  8. I knew he was male - that's why I said the searches which brought up results from females weren't useful. And I like his work a lot...read everything he writes. I was just wondering, non-snarkily, how he ended up at SI.
  9. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I heard they've kept on a few people who did internships at the mag. Went from intern to that reporter role to writer.
  10. broadway joe

    broadway joe Guest

    Steve Rushin is an example of someone who went from strictly a fact-checking reporter all the way up the ladder. That's actually relatively rare, though. If you look at the senior writers on the masthead, there aren't that many who started out as reporters at the mag. But with the emergence of SI.com, it seems that reporters are getting more of a chance to write than they once did.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    They're hiring more interns then they have in the past... I know a few, Kelley King comes to mind... started that way...

    When I was in school, it was unheard of for them to do that... Rushin might have been one of the only exceptions...

    For the most part, if SI sees a writer they like they just go an get him... It's not as easy as it used to be because ESPN is much higher profile and can pay higher salaries because they can use them in the magazine, on the website and on TV... SI had to up the salaries of several of their top writers to keep them from jumping to ESPN. I know ESPN went after Reilly in a major way when the magazine first started. Reilly used that to get a colossal deal (seven-figure salary, stock options, the column, etc...) and I think Smith and Rushin also got their deals sweetened...
  12. Interesting. In his recent column about his relationship with Flip Saunders, Rushin wrote that a correspondence with Alex Wolff led to his SI job.

    Also, can anybody imagine a Gary Smith piece in ESPN? That would be strange.
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