It’s no surprise that the art of print journalism is dying. With technology being as advanced as it is now, newspapers and magazines are trying to keep up with the multitude of digital sources out there. Sports Illustrated magazine is the latest victim of this journalism epidemic. The magazine has seen an extreme decline in readers/subscribers, within the past year especially, causing higher ups in the company to make a serious amount of layoffs.
Sports Illustrated themselves declined to give a comment to any news source about how many layoffs would be occurring, however, according to the Wall Street Journal, the magazine is laying off 25% of its staff, which would total around 40 individuals out of 160 employee’s. The move came shortly after TheMaven Inc. licensed the rights to all Sports Illustrated digital and print publications. The layoffs are a part of a larger plan to get the magazine back on the right track and avoid the quickly dying field of print media. Another part of the plan includes TheMaven hiring 200 contract writers to cover current sports events and news, also according to the Wall Street Journal.
Meredith Corporation owned the rights to the magazine before hand and recently sold it to Maven in June, telling its employees that with this transition would come layoffs, and they didn’t disappoint on their promise. Writing employee’s were nervous walking into the office this Thursday as a meeting with the new editors in chief was supposed to take place to inform employees who still has a job and who doesn’t, however, that meeting was delayed until the late evening. Writers weren’t the only group that should’ve been nervous though, as they soon learned Maven was replacing Christian Stone, the editor and chief of seven long years, with Steve Cannella and Ryan Hunt from Maven Inc.
This major transition sparked a lot of outrage within the Sports Illustrated employee’s. Long time writers and higher ups were being fired after years of service and dedication only to be replaced by less experienced individuals just because it’s cheaper, unfortunately not uncommon in the sphere or corporate America work. In response, many Sports Illustrated employees wrote, signed, and sent a petition to Meredith Inc. According to the Wall Street Journal, the petition called on the companies to “drop TheMaven and save Sports Illustrated.”
“TheMaven wants to replace top journalists in the industry with a network of Maven freelancers and bloggers, while reducing or eliminating departments that have ensured that the stories we publish and produce meet the highest standards,” the petition said.
Unfortunately this isn’t an uncommon issue, and Sports Illustrated has already seen major cutbacks made before, the economy for writers is just not what it used to be. With the current war on journalism and “fake news” epidemic, more and more individuals are choosing to turn to social media platforms for their news source. No one goes out and buys a physical magazine or newspaper when they can have the same article on their phones within seconds if they wanted and while companies like Sports Illustrated have completely digitized, there’s still a major struggle to get actual clicks. The clicks that articles get gives them views which increases advertising and pays for the publications. Until there’s more of a boom in the click business, major company changes such as the one Sports Illustrated as endure will continue.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.