November 04, 2007

The Decline and Fall of SI

It was at the bottom of my to-read pile for the week, but I finally got around to reading Josh Levin's Slate piece about the decline of Sports Illustrated, and why it's no longer relavent.

I agree mostly with the piece- it's ridiculous that SI has felt the need to turn much of its news hole into a clone of the odious ESPN the Magazine, as opposed to the other way around- and there's a paucity of the good long-form writing that has been the magazine's hallmark for a half-century. The SI Players section is an embarrassment- who cares about the athletes' favorite movies, or tattoos?

But there's still a lot to recommend about the magazine: Gary Smith's pieces, for one, as well as Tom Verducci's. The seasonal preview issues are always awesome, and I still never miss an online column by Peter King, Jon Heyman, or Richard Deitsch. Still, Levin is right that they need to make the website better, especially by mining their archives.

Most of all, we need less of the ESPN the Magazine-patented apologies for awful people in sports, and more of the critical pieces that have become Verducci's hallmark. The loss of Rick Reilly? I can't complain.

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 4, 2007 02:11 PM
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