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SI critique -- Why SI still matters

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bristol Insider, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. e4

    e4 Member

    If I have this wrong, someone better in the know can correct me. But regarding SI's young talent, or lack thereof as someone mentioned above... I think, and this is a semi-educated guess...

    In the past SI went after the best talent coming out of college and made them reporters. You didn't get to write, but you worked your ass off in hopes of getting a chance to write or work your way up the masthead, which meant that most of the country's top talent was always competing for "playing time," which probably included brainstorming story ideas for senior writers, etc., which in turn helped produced the best final product as possible.

    I imagine hiring is now based strictly with budgets in mind (?), which also keeps the SI franchise from going after already established, big-name writers. SI can't pay everyone to be "their guy," especially when other publications -- with the exposure of the Internet, no less -- can pay people to be the face of company, or whatever you want to call it.

    Is this accurate or off-base?
  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I just don\\\\\\\'t know how true that is. Steve Rushin was hired out of college as a reporter. So was Deford (in 1961!)

    But Reilly worked at three papers, Boulder, Denver, LA, before he got to SI. Gary Smith was an established newspaper guy in Delaware and Philly. Tom Verducci worked at Newsday. Scott Price was at the Miami Herald. Mike Silver worked at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Peter King worked at Newsday. Jack McCallum worked in newspapers for like 10 years after college, I think. Tim Layden was at Newsday. Jeff MacGregor worked in TV humorist, producer and actor, hosted The Dating Game, and taught fiction at Yale. Richard Hoffer worked at the LA Times.

    I won\'t knock the younger generation of SI writers, because they\'re obviously far better than I am. But I will say there are people out there that the magazine probably could have hired, and they probabaly could have probably become stars. And it wouldn\'t have been a budget concern. It\'s a talent thing. You have to seek it out, almost like it\'s a prospect in the Dominican Republic. You\'d think SI could have had Selena Roberts when she was rising fast. I\'m certain they could have had Wright Thompson. Instead of Chris Jones needing to beg Esquire for a tryout with doughnuts in hand, maybe SI could have gotten him when he was living in his car in Arizona. Barry Svrluga, I think, could have been their Buster Olney. How about Matthew Teague, who now works at GQ? Or even, dare I say it, Chuck Klosterman? (Before you laugh, I\'ll point out that Jeff Pearlman was doing some of the same pop culture stuff in Nashville that Klosterman was doing in Akron when SI hired him. At least that\'s what I\'ve been told.)

    That\'s a whole generation of 30-somethings that would have been really good there, even if they didn\'t stay long.
  3. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    SI hasn't mattered for years.
  4. Petty: Do you still read it?
  5. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    Is that a misprint? The guy who writes dreck for ESPN writes for Atlantic Monthly? WTF?
  6. Mighty_Wingman

    Mighty_Wingman Active Member

    Easterbrook's a sharp guy. His stuff for the Atlantic is always top-notch. But to be honest, I like TMQ too, even if it's always way too long.
  7. No misprint ...
  8. Blue_Water

    Blue_Water Member

    That would be an interesting debate - SI of 30 years ago more influential than ESPN of now?

    I've read SI for just about 30 years. To me it's still easily the best sports publication, and I don't really see the huge drop-off people on here talk about. I think the new Scorecard sucks - some kind of weird design hybrid of Scorecard and Players (which really sucked all along), but I still enjoy the feature well. That part of the magazine is not over-designed, and the writing is usually good enough to make me frustrated about my own lack of ability.
  9. Easterbrook is the king of verbosity. TMQ makes a Bill Simmons column look like a photo caption.
  10. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    As one who has the Dan Gable profile of '72 (Bobby Hull cover) tucked away, I thought the Iowa-wrestling story was great ... but if they did it years back, I think it would have been even greater. I hold many of the new school in highest regard--and the old school I simply worshipped. Gary Smith, though, I'd throw myself on a puddle to have him walk on my back.

    YHS, etc
  11. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    I've read it for 35 years, and I agree.

    Somebody pull out an issue from 1977 and show me anything of "influence" to top the steroids coverage SI has had over the past couple of years. The only thing even close was their exhaustive "Money in Sports" series.

    It's a 1,000-channel, 10,000-magazine, 2,000,000,000,000-Web site universe today.

    No single media entity can wield the kind of influence that was possible 30 years ago. Not the major networks, not The New York Times. And not SI.

    But that's not SI's fault.

    The magazine is really only marginally different than it once was.

    You, the reader, are much different. Thus, your perception has changed from that of a 12-year-old kid seeing Cheryl Tiegs in a fishnet to a jaded 42-year-old who can get his T&A fix and his sports fix 24/7 without having to wait until the Thursday afternoon mail delivery.

    And finally, my stock response every time one of these silly "Where have you gone, SI?" threads materializes . . .

  12. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    his column after the super bowl was all about how pro football was sweeping the globe because it mirrors the organizational structure of modern corporations. yeah, like dementia and concussions and brain damage are exactly what the rest of the world is dying to import.

    easterbrook is just smart enough to be dangerous. but pretentious! whoa. he is always writing "God doesn't care about football games." like he's God's spokesman. if people want to pray for victory on the field, that's personal, thank you very much, they don't need easterbrook to interpret God's intentions.

    he's a crackpot.

    though i give him credit for solid analysis on why the Colts won.
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