It’s a bad day in the land of sports magazines, plus broken promises from The Correspondent and racist tabloids

May 1, 2019

It doesn’t look great on paper

Execs announced that after years of losses, ESPN The Magazine would end its print edition.

ESPN The Magazine will cease its print version in September after 21 years. Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand broke the story. The move is not expected to involve any layoffs, except for a handful of print/publishing/circulation employees. The editorial staff will be integrated across ESPN’s other platforms, namely television and its website. Still, a cool print magazine is going away.

In a statement, ESPN said, “Consumer habits are evolving rapidly, and this requires ESPN to evolve as well. The only change here is that we are moving away from printing it on paper and sending it in the mail.”

The magazine launched in March of 1998 and was expected to be a competitor to Sports Illustrated with long-form features and columns. But it also aimed for a younger audience with short stories, extreme sports coverage, hip graphics and other alternate story forms.

A source told Sports Business Daily that the magazine has lost money for several years: “It was not close to a break even proposition.”

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated, the gold standard of sports magazines since its launch in 1954, could see a serious shift in content because of a potential sale. The magazine has been suffering in recent years. Issues have gotten smaller and it went from printing 50 issues a year in 2015 to 46 in 2016 to 38 in 2017. Since then, it has published bi-weekly.


The cover of Sports Illustrated’s Picture of the Year issue from 2007. (AP Photo/John Russell)

Now Jean E. Palmieri writes for Women’s Wear Daily that if Authentic Brands Group is successful in buying Sports Illustrated, the magazine could end up a licensing and digital outlet. Sources told Palmieri that the print magazine would continue for at least two years as ABG uses content to extend the brand’s reach into sports-related businesses, including things such as sports rehab clinics, camps for kids and other companies with ties to athletes. Obviously, merging business content with straight journalism raises all types of conflict-of-interest concerns.

ABG has emerged as a contender to buy Sports Illustrated for about $110 million. The magazine is owned by Meredith Corp., which purchased Time Inc. in 2018 for $1.85 billion, but immediately put up Time properties Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money for sale because it did not fit into its overall business plan.

Perhaps Sports Illustrated isn’t what it was in its heyday when the likes of Rick ReillyGary SmithFrank DefordWalter Iooss and so many others were writing and shooting photos for the magazine, but it still produces quality writing and worthwhile features. A shift to a branding-type magazine would be devastating to those who have been reading the magazine for decades.

The Correspondent phones it in

The company ‘screwed up’ this week as its plans for a U.S. newsroom fell apart and investors expressed disappointment.

It all started with a hire and an announcement. The Correspondent, a news website based in Amsterdam, was launching a U.S. bureau. Zainab Shah, formerly of BuzzFeed, was going to lead the “sustainable, ad-free model for journalism to the U.S. and beyond.” Thanks to endorsements from the likes of FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and “The Wire” creator David Simon, the company raised $2.6 million through crowdfunding. But Shah quit last month and The Correspondent announced it would not be expanding to the Unites States. That crowdfunded money (46 percent of new members were Americans) would go to the Amsterdam operations. Bottom line: The Correspondent would hire a couple of American correspondents who would report back to editors in the Netherlands.

Nieman Lab’s Laura Hazard Owen was all over the story and Shah told her, “I felt like it was a betrayal, and we had raised funds on false pretense.” The story also led SilverSimon and many others to lash out at The Correspondent.

Finally, on Tuesday, The Correspondent wrote an unsigned apology on Twitter, saying they “screwed up.” Hazard Owen has the details in another story for Nieman Lab, but the apology also said, “We are committed to doing better in the future. When members ask for a refund, we will process that right away.”

America loves Fox News

Its top two commentators continue to dominate in cable viewership.

From left, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Rachel Maddow. (Photos — Hannity: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson; Carlson: AP Photo/Richard Drew; Maddow: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

When it comes to cable news ratings, Fox News’ two primetime stars continue to dominate. According to Mediaite, Sean Hannity remains at the top with his show averaging 3 million viewers in April. His Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson was next with 2.8 million viewers. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow came in third with 2.6 million viewers.

I screen, you screen, we all screen

Veteran newswoman Diane Sawyer turns her sights toward our use and abuse of screens in a new TV special.


Shutterstock.

American adults spend the equivalent of 49 days a year on their phones and tablets. Is that too much and how does that impact our lives? That’s the topic of a Diane Sawyer special report to air this Friday on ABC from 8-10 p.m. Eastern time. “Screen Times: Diane Sawyer Reporting” is the result of a six-month project in which Sawyer and her team traveled the country.

The show features interviews with parents feeling disconnected from their kids who are constantly on their devices; an experiment on how babies and toddlers are affected by their parents being on their phones; the influence of video games on kids; and an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

New York Post called ‘racist’

Bodega owners in New York City are boycotting the tabloid.

Yemeni bodega owners in New York City are boycotting the New York Post after the paper used the 9/11 tragedy to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar on a recent front page. The New York Times’ Christina Goldbaum quoted Mohammed Almuntaser, the owner of four bodegas, as saying, “It was disgusting. It was racist. I couldn’t believe this racist thing was sitting at my store. The very next day, I told everyone who works at my stores not to accept the paper.”

‘To report people’s courage with my camera’

A new photojournalism prize honors the life and work of a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer.

An Afghan boy flies his kite near Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2013 in this AP photo by Anja Niedringhaus. She was killed the following year while covering the run-up to the presidential elections in Afghanistan.

The International Women’s Media Foundation announced the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Awards on Tuesday. Eloisa Lopez of the Philippines was this year’s top winner with the United States’ Mary Calvertand Saudi Arabia’s Tasneem Alsultan named honorable mentions.

Lopez focuses on human rights, women and religion. Alsultan shoots social issues and rights-based topics in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf region. And Calvert was honored for a recent portfolio covering sexual abuse in the Armed Forces.

Hot type

A curated list of great journalism and intriguing media.


David Brooks. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Hot word these days? Spoiler. From “Avengers: Endgame” to “Game of Thrones,” everyone is going crazy about spoilers. Writing for The Concourse, Katharine Trendacosta tells everyone to calm down.
  • New York magazine’s Lisa Miller interviews conservative columnist David Brooks .
  • Poynter’s Ren LaForme, just back from the James Beard Media Awards, is out with his latest Try This! digital tools newsletter which looks at, appropriately enough, food journalism.
  • Don’t tell mothers in journalism that they have to change, Katherine Goldstein writes in the latest newsletter, The Cohort, from Poynter.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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