Grand Slam:

Sports mags go for the gold


Why do sports magazines appeal to publishers? Well, they inevitably touch on cultural hot points like race, gender, and celebrity, and dramatic photo opportunities abound. Perhaps most importantly, a never-ending supply of statistics means there’s always fodder for the definitive form of late ’90s magazine expression—the chart. While sports have always snagged adult male consumers, new players in the genre are reaching futher out. Herwith, a scouting report.

—G. Beato

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ESPN CONDÉ NAST SPORTS FOR WOMEN HECKLER SLAM
Spiritual mascot Dan Marino Tiger Woods “Most glamorous sportswoman in the country,” Gabrielle Reece 18-year-old snowboarding phenom you’ve never heard of Li’l Penny
Show me the money 3.15 million readers Anytime you’re starting a new magazine, it helps to have a worldwide cable empire to promote it. Best closer in the league: Condé Nast’s ad department. Anti-consumerist editorial stance lends maximum credibility to advertisers. Cool-hunting advertisers eager to target voracious sports-shoe consumer demographic
Knockout punch Easy-to-read old-school graphic design Editorial staff includes mix of seasoned vets and future All-Stars. Workout tips from supermodel athletes, rather than just supermodels Skaters and snowboarders discuss their adventures without slick magazine-writer intervention Nothing but net
Bum knee Frequent unnecessary psychoanalysis: “He may be a bit anal, but he can putt.” Unrestrained insider tone means you have to watch at least 15 hours of sports a week to know what they’re talking about. Editor writes like a summer intern at a second-rate PR agency. See above Should come with glossary insert for those over 30
Intangibles If mysteriously well-regarded columnist Rick Reilly ever decides to jump to ESPN, it’ll be SI‘s gain. Has the rarest commodity in the genre; funny sports-writing that’s actually funny Low-fat cheesecake like “The Breast News Ever!” likely to attract crossover audience Lots of music coverage, in case you’re not really into sports, even extreme ones Surprisingly entertaining vertical-leap-
enhancement ads
State of the chart Used mostly as uninspired page-filling devices Detailed statistical breakdown of the Alamodome Detailed statistical breakdown of Wheat Thins Nutrition Facts label Stats and charts are for fat-asses. Rankings of up-and-coming sneaker brands

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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