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Sports Illustrated layoffs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by silvercharm, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. Webster

    Webster Well-Known Member

    I’m 50 and my older brother and I saved every SI that we had since around 1975. I used to keep a pile of my favorite stories and I couldn’t wait to devour every new issue.

    But with the exception of Dr. Z, Peter King and a couple of others, the transition to the web seemed to be an exercise in stepping on rakes. I still pay for a subscription more out of loyalty than anything else, but it just is not a must read interactive experience anymore.
    BurnsWhenIPee likes this.
  2. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    I've read a lot of SI over the years. Hell, I worked in a doctor's office for fifteen years. I screened the mail for the interesting magazines and raided waiting rooms to see if I'd missed any.

    I think of it as a physical magazine in my hands, starting as a kid at the library. I have had very little interaction with their digital side.

    Damn shame. So many fine articles and photographs.
    Lt.Drebin likes this.
  3. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member

    The guy who turned Forbes into a content farm was the editor of the LA Times under publisher Ross Levinsohn -- the guy that now is running those same plays at SI. It's amazing how these guys can go into meetings with an owner or board of directors and say, "Hey, fewer people are reading in print and more people are reading online, especially on their phones!" The owner then drops a million bucks on Levinson and tells him to fix it. Levinsohn has no good idea as to how, but if he can keep up his parties and keep the owner happy by sacrificing humans to maintain a profit margin, it's all good! And Levinsohn will be onto his next thievery -- er, job -- soon enough.
  4. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I know the CTO at Maven, the management team are unabashed Trumpanzees thieving from the top down. It's all about replacing paid employees with bloggers. No surprise at this point that SI would end up owned by bottom-feeders.
  5. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    I was thinking long and hard about this last night, and the AOL/Time Warner mess was truly the beginning of the end. Once an institution becomes no more than "a brand" for a conglomerate that doesn't understand or appreciate the reasons why or how it became well-known, it ceases to have any value other than as a trading chip.

    Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message." However, that assumes the medium would never evolve into purely acquisitions and divestitures by corporations without any regard for that message. Newspaper chains, SI, ESPN, Fox and Turner have become nothing more than business strategies. AT&T, Sinclair and Disney have no reason to care about quality, tradition or integrity. Those are things that don't show on the bottom line.

    So what's happening to Sports Illustrated specifically or our industry as a whole isn't unique, sadly. We're just the most recent takeover targets. Nobody in 1950 could have imagined U.S. Steel or Penn Central going bankrupt, either. It's happening in the food industry, in the airline industry, in consumer electronics. Change with technology or die.

    Until the media controls the medium (like The Athletic is attempting to do, or even Jeff Gluck on a personal level), we're fighting our own eventual obsolescence as a profession. There is an increasing need for content, but not a corresponding value of quality or integrity placed upon it. As long as SI can be flipped from Time Warner to Meredith to ABG to Maven, its only value is whatever profits can be squeezed out of it.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  6. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    There's no reason Time Inc - either before or after the mergers with Warner Bros., then AOL - couldn't have been better managed as a magazine company. Even as it entered the digital age.

    Like Hearst and Condé Nast, they'd have to cut some titles, but could have been kept intact as a publisher.
    garrow and maumann like this.
  7. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    That sentence alone is beyond troubling.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I do think though that this idea that the industry was flush and booming back in the day - and therefore shouldn't be where it is today is idealistic. Companies run quarter to quarter - it doesn't matter what you did last quarter, a year ago, or 10 years ago. And even if print owners found new income streams for the product - they would still be at a point where they would be discontinuing the print product because it would be dragging the margin of the well-performing areas of the business.
    But yeah - even digital only news orgs have been laying people off.
    sgreenwell and maumann like this.
  9. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Penn Central didn't exist in 1950. If you meant the Pennsylvania RR, than yes. But the handwriting was on the wall for eastern coal carriers at that time.
    maumann likes this.
  10. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I hadn't realized American Heritage was no longer in print. Loved that magazine - particularly about the bits of history that were interesting if not book-length worthy.
  11. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Maybe they'll die in a fire, eh?
  12. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

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