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How The Cloud Stole Christ

Cloudy's Sports Journalismism Thread

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So, some background: SI was sold to Authentic Brands Group (blech), who are licensing a start-up company called TheMaven to run Sports Illustrated. SI is now in the hands of James Heckman and Ross Levinsohn, two total bros (one, Levinsohn, having been accused multiple times of sexual misconduct) - notably, Levinsohn was named CEO of the Los Angeles Times and was planning on turning it into a content mill, but that plan went kablooey after an NPR story about his sexual misconduct. 

Also, this past Thursday, they laid off half of the SI newsroom.

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In conversations with Deadspin, several sources who were pitched jobs running Maven team sites under Sports Illustrated branding described a bleak scenario. They said they were told they would earn between $25,000 and $30,000 per year, with vague opportunities to make extra money by hitting “traffic bonuses.” They would be expected to post three “news videos” per day to their site—they were to wear Maven polo shirts in these videos—as well as hundreds of posts per month. The message was clear: Quantity over quality. Prospective Maven “partners” were told by company execs that if they had trouble creating enough content, they should go to the nearest college and find eager young students who would write for free. These Maven partners would also be required to register themselves as an LLC, presumably so TheMaven would avoid any SB Nation–like legal liability for misclassifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Multiple sportswriters, all of whom spoke to Deadspin about their experiences with TheMaven on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, compared the company’s executives to “snake oil salesmen.”

The situation described by these sources is further fleshed out by a 60-minute video and slideshow presentation and a “Maven coalition partner contract” that have been obtained by Deadspin. This presentation was shown to potential recruits for the new Maven SI venture, and it details exactly how the people now in charge of Sports Illustrated plan on turning it into the sort of volume-driven content farm that ruled the web a dozen or so tweaks of the Google algorithm ago.

 

https://deadspin.com/inside-themavens-plan-to-turn-sports-illustrated-into-a-1838756286

Pour one out for Sports Illustrated. It may seem like a relic now, but SI innovated a lot (full color photos in print, for example) and had some fantastically written pieces throughout the years about a bunch of different sports. Now with these two business bros and their company running it I fully expect it to be monthly swimsuit issues and maybe a passing article about sports. <_<

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Up until my mom moved out of my childhood home a couple years ago, I still had a collection of issues I found valuable. Like when Ripken broke Gehrig's streak, when McGwire hit 70, when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls and the issue when Ron Powlus announced he'd be returning to Notre Dame for his senior year. :shifty: 

PowlusRon.JPG

The answer: Only in a Young Meacon's heart. :(

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It's sad but not surprising.

The Athletic has basically replaced most meaningful sports journalism out there.  Wouldn't surprise me if they scooped up a few former SI writers soon.

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Haven't read SI in years. The last time I even glanced through an issue, Peyton Manning was still playing. For the Vols.

I preferred The Sporting News over SI for my sports information.

 

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19 hours ago, Meacon said:

I had an SI subscription from the time I was seven until I was eighteen. I haven't read one in years, but it was a solid piece of my sports-fandom growing up. It's sad that this is what is going to become of it.

 

I mean, this is the nature of journalism now. It's going one of three ways. Firstly is this way, where everything is about algorithms and influencers, getting metrics and social currency, with the actual content created by robots and simply designed to push site views for ad revenue.

The second is heavy handed, agenda driven propaganda designed to spread commercials as journalism, and meant to play up emotions and biases to generate those some social currencies.

The third form of journalism we see all the time with Lineker and I think we can all agree that's the worst kind of the three.

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Seems to be how things are going, with formerly decent selling magazines like the NME dying on their arse. It does feel like good journalism is still around though, but in niche 'hardcore' publications like the Blizzard and Mundial (I only know football sorry...) for people still willing to pay for print and feeling more like coffee table books than the old regular magazine.

Is the Atlantic solely an online affair? I guess that's the way your 'news' type magazines will have to go.

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Presumably that content will be separate from the online, maybe with some overlap? Feels like the Blizzard approach, long form articles rather than short features?

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Looks like Deadspin's probably going to bite the dust. Fucking sucks. Their shithole parent company sent out a mandate telling them to "stick to sports", and that didn't sit well with the site's editor or the staff. Barry Petchesky (the editor) was fired and there haven't been any new posts put up on Deadspin since Monday. 

If Deadspin goes under because of all of this, I dunno where the fuck I'm gonna get my sports reporting anymore. For more than five years now, one of the first pages I open up when I get online - aside from EWB - has been Deadspin, and they've done some phenomenal coverage over the years. Especially Diana Moskovitz's reporting re: sexual abuse in sports.

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10 hours ago, Rey Cloudy said:

Looks like Deadspin's probably going to bite the dust. Fucking sucks. Their shithole parent company sent out a mandate telling them to "stick to sports", and that didn't sit well with the site's editor or the staff. Barry Petchesky (the editor) was fired and there haven't been any new posts put up on Deadspin since Monday. 

If Deadspin goes under because of all of this, I dunno where the fuck I'm gonna get my sports reporting anymore. For more than five years now, one of the first pages I open up when I get online - aside from EWB - has been Deadspin, and they've done some phenomenal coverage over the years. Especially Diana Moskovitz's reporting re: sexual abuse in sports.

Always possible that people from Deadspin could start their own thing.

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New posts have gone up since I posted that, including Drew Magary's Funbag Q/A post that normally goes up on Tuesdays. 

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pgxmdzqgqx3o4bvwddhl.jpg

Picture of a basketball included to signal that this week’s Funbag is sports-related.

 

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Also, Farmers pulled a million dollar ad campaign from G/O Media.

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Multiple sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that following the editorial team’s public criticism of the ads, Farmers informed G/O that it would not continue with the campaign which, according to the Journal, was worth $1 million and required the media company to deliver nearly 43.5 million ad impressions through next year.

Management eventually decided to remove the critical posts, causing an even greater uproar among staff and readers.

“The GMG Union has been informed that posts across our websites asking for reader feedback on an autoplay ad campaign were taken down by management. We condemn this action in the strongest possible terms,” the company’s editorial union wrote Monday in a tweet. 

 

 

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Pretty much anyone and everyone worth their salt that worked for Deadspin has resigned. I think they'll all manage to land good gigs elsewhere, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want them to all come together and make their own website. 

Also:
https://deadspin.com/sports-blogs-ranked-1839529420

I imagine it gets taken down before the day's over, but

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1) Getting hit by a car

2) Deadspin

EDIT:
As of now, there isn't a single writer or editor left at Deadspin. Everyone has resigned.

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I might just make this a sports journalismism thread. As of right now, there's a 2,000+ person strong Discord server made for Deadspin (and other G/O Media properties) refugees. It's mostly active commenters, but some of the former staff have joined the server as well.

Also, Slate interviewed Megan Greenwell, Barry Petchesky and Tom Ley, all former Deadspin staffers, about what Deadspin meant to sports journalism

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Looks like Paul Maidement's been canned from G/O Media, as well as Eric Alghern, who was in charge of Great Hill Partner's effort with G/O Media. Hasn't been a new post on Deadspin in 6 days (Maidement was the one posting on Deadspin, under the byline of "Deadspin Staff"). 

Hopefully, Spanfeller's on his way out soon.

EDIT: Forgot to say, G/O Media's being sued by two former executives for discriminating against women.

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In one complaint, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles, Nadine Jarrad, former G/O vice president of West Coast sales, sued the company for gender and pay discrimination and negligent hiring. She alleges Spanfeller demoted her and gave away half her sales territory to a former colleague from Playboy. “As of August 22, 2019, [Jarrard] had been placed out of work due to extreme mental and physical distress,” the complaint alleges.

In the other complaint, filed last week in Chicago against both G/O Media and Spanfeller specifically, Michael McAvoy, the former CEO of The Onion, alleges that Spanfeller fired him because he raised concerns about Spanfeller's treatment of women at the company. The lawsuit claims that G/O Media also violated his employment contract. G/O Media’s notice of termination for McAvoy “contained numerous inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and manufactured excuses for terminating McAvoy,” court documents allege.

 

 

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Deadspin's hired new bloggers. Unsurprisingly, they're all guys that worked under Jim Spanfeller when Spanfeller headed the NY Daily News. It's going about as well as you'd expect. Comments are turned off on Deadspin.

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