Fichtenbaum Succeeding McDonell As Time Inc. Sports Group Editor After Long Search
SI named company vet Paul Fichtenbaum the new Time Inc. Sports Group Editor, succeeding Terry McDonell and completing an exec transition process several months in the making. Fichtenbaum had been elevated in August from SI.com Managing Editor to Editorial Dir of the Time Inc. Sports Group. With this subsequent move, McDonell will shift to a new role as a Special Advisor to Time Inc., concentrating on digital initiatives. Fichtenbaum will assume editorial oversight for the 58-year-old print magazine, as well as SI.com, SI for Kids, the SI Golf franchise and the group's various book and int'l initiatives. Chris Stone has also been promoted to SI Managing Editor, making him the ninth person to hold that position. Stone, a 20-year vet of the magazine and a key figure in the expansion of the SI Swimsuit issue, won out in a nationwide search for the position that included guest editor stints and several external and internal candidates, including L. Jon Wertheim. McDonell was Sports Group Editor since '05. Fichtenbaum has been with SI since '89 (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
NEW REGIME: In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports while Stone "was seen as the front-runner, insiders said he won a bake-off against three other assistant managing editors (Mark Mravic, Hank Hersch and Chris Hunt)" and Senior Editor Stephen Cannella, who runs the baseball vertical. Each candidate "worked on producing at least one issue over the summer." Kelly reports the "McDonell-to-Fichtenbaum handoff has been in the works at least since July." Fichtenbaum over the summer worked to "realign SI into about a dozen sports verticals, such as NFL, MLB and college football, designed to break down the lingering barriers between print and digital." Fichtenbaum said, "People understand that we’re not just a once-a-week publication. We’re a 24/7 phenomenon." Fichtenbaum added that the "3 million circulation print weekly is still 'nicely profitable'" (N.Y. POST, 10/19).
THE HONEY BADGER DOESN'T COMMENT: In New Orleans, Jennifer Hale reported former LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu and his parents, Tyrone and Sheila, "all three declined to be interviewed" for SI's recent cover story. Tyrone Mathieu said that SI "refused to accept their decision not to be interviewed for the story." His family "hired a law firm last week to attempt to stop SI's interview requests." Sheila Mathieu said that she "can't understand why Sports Illustrated would respond so viciously to a family's decision to keep private matters private." Sheila Mathieu said, "They twisted things and cobbled together details from past articles because we wouldn't sit down with them" (FOX8LIVE.com, 10/16). Blogger Ed Sherman reported there "are allegations that Sports Illustrated tried to bribe a promoter to get damaging material about Mathieu." SI in a response said it "stands behind the reporting and the facts of the story. These absurd allegations are completely fabricated and with obvious motive" (SHERMANREPORT.com, 10/17).
NEXT CASE: In L.A., Houston Mitchell reported L.A. Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy on Wednesday "threw out a defamation lawsuit brought by Reeves Nelson against Sports Illustrated and reporter George Dohrmann concerning an article critical of the former UCLA basketball player." Murphy found that Dohrmann "had numerous sources" to back up his article, "Not the UCLA Way." Nelson "maintained that he was falsely portrayed as a chronic troublemaker who deliberately hurt teammates" (L.A. TIMES, 10/18).