It is hard to imagine anyone having a better gig in sportswriting than Joe Posnanski. He had emerged as one of the big guns at Sports Illustrated; was featured prominently with a popular blog on SI.com, and had his own podcast.
Yet Posnanski decided to leave SI to go to a new unnamed endeavor he calls “Project X.” It sounds like something run by Maxwell Smart with Chief as the publisher.
Actually, it is affiliated with USA Today Sports Group and MLB Advanced Media. More details will be revealed soon. He explains in an interview with Dave Kindred at sportsjournalism.org.
“The best way to define Project X,” Posnanski says, “is that it will be a multi-platform project with, we hope, great sports writing on all fronts. . . . the idea is to marry great technology and great writing.”
Later in the piece, Kindred writes:
It’s a decision made in favor of “an opportunity that’s really exciting,” he told me. Project X will create work available online, on tablets, on all the current mobile devices and, if anyone perfects technology that will imprint words on the back of your eyelids during sleep, X will probably use that, too. “The best part,” Posnanski said, “is that everything will be built around the written word. I’m not a TV guy. I’m not a radio guy. I write.”
He sounded like a man who made a decision based on the future rather than on the past or even the present. As good as SI has been, is, and will be, it yet is part of a legacy media that is attempting, without notable success so far, to adapt its values and retro-fit its practices to fit a 21st-century template.
Posnanski also is working on finishing his biography on Joe Paterno. The book is due out in August. It figures to be a blockbuster, considering he moved to State College last year and had an up-close look when the coach’s legacy changed forever in November.
“It’s a very, very different book now,” Posnanski said. “But, in many ways, it’s still the same. It’s still about his life – a life that changed dramatically at the end. And in the last three months of his life, when nobody else had access to him, I was with him quite a bit.”