How much longer will new Sports Illustrated editor actually put out a magazine?

Last night, my bedtime reading was the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. Not on my Ipad, but the actual magazine.

With the news that Newsweek is ceasing to publish in a magazine format, it made me wonder how long that also would be the case for SI?

I think we’re still years away from SI becoming completely digital. Then again, this week’s edition felt thin and the magazine recently made some cuts in staff. Also, new initiatives seem to be geared toward the online experience.

SI seemed to say as much by appointing Paul Fichtenbaum, who for eight years ran Sports Illustrated’s Web site, as the new editor of the Time Inc. Sports Group. He replaces Terry McDonell.

Fichtenbaum told Richard Sandomir of the New York Times:

“Everything going forward has to have a digital overlay to it because that’s where the industry is going,” Mr. Fichtenbaum said in a telephone interview. “We have a really strong print product, a lot of subscribers — more than three million who love the magazine — and what we need to do is make sure they love SI in whatever form the world takes us. Our magazine is rock solid.”

Later, Sandomir wrote:

Mr. Fichtenbaum said that the print magazine would further extend its efforts in enterprise journalism, while letting handle daily sports news. “That’s one of the things we can do to differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” he said. “The magazine can do those interesting, unique stories that are hard to come by.”

I hope the magazine remains viable. Call me old-school, but the pictures look better in print. And I like the feel of a magazine in my hands.

Yes, it is hard to imagine SI disappearing as a magazine. Then again, 10 years ago, who would have thought Newsweek as a magazine would be on its way out in 2012?


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