MAGAZINE: Behind the Scenes at Sports Illustrated by William Jaspersohn

MAGAZINE: Behind the Scenes at Sports Illustrated

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jaspersohn's latest photo story shows readers the surfaces behind the scenes as a weekly magazine proceeds from planning to finished product. Jaspersohn chooses big time Sports Illustrated for his model, which provides a concrete focus for the stories as well as a little action and borrowed glamour. The story he selects to follow deals with the Avon women's tennis final at Madison Square Garden. It's first mentioned here at the opening Monday morning editorial meeting where managing editor Gil Rogin goes over the upcoming issue with 20-some senior members of his editorial staff of 145. The Avon story is covered by writer Sarah Pileggi, who started at SI as a secretary; reporter Lea Watson, a newcomer to the staff; and photographer John Iacono, whose Nikon F-3 cameras and array of Nikkor lenses are duly noted. With them we see the press room as well as the court (""One of the benefits of writing for a major magazine like Sports Illustrated is that your seat at a sporting event is usually excellent""), sit in on interviews (including a TV panel interview with Billie Jean King), then return to the office with Sarah, who writes through the night. Her story is gone over by the tennis editor, a copy editor, reporter Lea who checks the facts, another editor, Rogin himself, and a pair of proof readers--while a series of picture editors and an inter-departmental panel help Rogin select two photos from lacono's 2,000 shots. This week the ""close"" will be extended one day to cover next Monday night's NCAA basketball finals, and Jaspersohn takes readers to Philadelphia where two SI photographers will provide the cover picture (a post-game victory shot) and writer Curry Fitzpatrick, who has already sent off the middle part of his story (about Saturday night's semifinals), will have just one hour after the game to write the beginning and end. Throughout the book Jaspersohn switches between the writers' and photographers' field work and the activity back at the magazine--from the circulation, marketing, and promotion to the letters, enterprises (creating posters, games, and such with the magazine's imprint), and fashion departments. The pace picks up after Monday night's game, when Curry's story is transmitted to the office electronically and the film ""whisked"" off by motorcycle and chartered Learjet. The editorial process ""spins"" through the night; computers transmit the story to the four regional plants, where we see it through the printing process; and by Thursday afternoon the magazine is on the stands. Like SI itself this is a professional presentation of the processes involved in creating a familiar product.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1983
Publisher: Little, Brown