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Posts Tagged ‘Sports Illustrated’

How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

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Pitch Travel Stories With a Strong Journalistic Hook to Roads & Kingdoms

In a world of listicles and quizzes, Roads & Kingdoms, launched in 2012, seeks to fill a void in travel journalism with a focus on in-depth reporting of destinations. Instead of critiques of new hotels or a roundup of luxe resorts, Roads & Kingdoms delves into the dynamics that affect a region’s culture, politics and economy. It presents travel writing in a more journalistic light. Editor-in-chief and founder Nathan Thornburgh says:

Our target readers are people who are already well traveled and are looking for stories from more distant places they don’t know yet. That, and they like good writing.

Roads & Kingdoms also has partnerships with both Sports Illustrated (for international soccer stories) and Slate (for stories on foreign affairs), so there’s the possibility for freelancers’ work to appear on either outlet in addition to Roads & Kingdoms.

For more information on what editors are looking for in a query, read: How to Pitch: Roads & Kingdoms.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Has Time Inc. Gone Too Far With New Cover Ads?

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 1.52.21 PMLast week there was, understandably, some buzz about Time Inc.’s decision to sell small cover ads. The news, on the heels of Time Inc.’s split from Time Warner Cable, broke that a small Verizon ad (a line of text in the bottom corner of the cover, potentially right below a mailing label, reading “For best results use Verizon see P. 23″) would appear on the upcoming issue of Time and Sports Illustrated.

The addition of marketing messages to the front cover is in direct opposition to the American Society of Magazine Editors’ (ASME) very first editorial guideline, which states clearly:

1. Don’t Print Ads on Covers
The cover is the editor and publisher’s brand statement. Advertisements should not be printed directly on the cover or spine.

This procedure ensures that editorial integrity remains intact and isn’t influenced by advertisers. Over on one of our sister sites, FishBowlNY, Chris O’Shea was outspoken about the paradigm shift:

“Obviously this is just the beginning. Eventually magazine covers will look like NASCAR cars, completely covered in ads. It’ll be like a fun, sad game — try to figure out what magazine this is!” he wrote.

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Pitch Your Multimedia Ideas to SI.com

Sports savvy freelancers who have a knack for multimedia are welcome to pitch their ideas to SI.com, where all sections are open to freelance pitches. Photos, videos and podcasts are all game, and can be pitched separately from the rest of a story.

Executive editor B.J. Schecter advises freelancers to pitch specific angles that “go beyond the action on the field” or explore new or untapped issues. Still, if a writer comes to SI.com with a scoop on a player in a major sport that the site has yet to uncover, Schecter will listen. “Anything that’s a really good story,” he said of the perfect pitch. “If it’s a mainstream thing we haven’t touched on or you have special access. I’m always looking for a good story.”

Get all the details in How To Pitch: SI.com. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

Pitch with the Heart of an Athlete

For executive editor of SI.com B. J. Schecter, Sports Illustrated and its online vertical are like twins in more ways than one. ”While SI.com has the same DNA as the magazine, the content is almost entirely original,” he said.

So for those hungry for a SI byline, try pitching  SI.com.

The website is driven by hard news, as it is primarily a 24/7 daily news site focused on breaking stories. But for Schecter, a perfect pitch doesn’t need hardcore in-depth analysis or stats. All he really wants is heart.

Human interest stories, such as a player who helps a cancer patient or a trainer who rebounds from adversity, will always do well at SI.com. ”Whether that player is well-known or not, for us it’s about telling good stories and human interest and playing to a national audience,” he said. “No matter what you pitch, those should be things you take into consideration.”

Read mediabistro.com’s How To Pitch: SI.com for contact info for Schecter and more details on the types of stories his team wants. [sub req'd]