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Tag Archives: Sports Illustrated

Upon Gary Smith’s retirement: The venerated Sports Illustrated writer on longform immersion and intimacy

It isn’t often that a narrative journalist’s retirement makes the news, but when Sports Illustrated announced this spring that longtime writer Gary Smith would be leaving the business, the public eulogies — and the “Best of Gary” lists — began immediately. Smith, who spent 32 years at SI, wrote celebrated stories “that weren’t so much about sports as [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 90: George Plimpton and Sidd Finch

Twenty-nine years ago today, Sports Illustrated ran George Plimpton’s “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch,” about a mysterious, unknown major league pitching recruit who threw a fastball at jet speed. Published on April Fools’ Day 1985, the piece carried the following deck: He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, [...]

The future of digital longform, Part 1: “Snow Fall” (yep, that again — worth it) + poetry + how we read

Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism hosted a daylong Future of Digital Longform conference recently, and it was full of good stuff. (They kindly invited Storyboard to appear on a panel, and although we couldn’t make it, we spoke with conference organizer and The Big Roundtable publisher Anna Hiatt; you can read the conversation here.) [...]

“Detroit: A love story:” Chuck Salter, Fast Company, and a layered, live-storytelling approach to the tale of a desperate city

Fast Company‘s Chuck Salter recently came up with an innovative way to address the unfolding narrative that is Detroit. The city, long depressed, is now bankrupt. Unemployment stands at double the national rate; buildings have been famously abandoned; dozens of schools have closed; services are so eroded firefighters buy their own toilet paper. When Whole Foods showed up, [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 76: William Nack and “Pure Heart”

I still remember where I was—sitting in a dive bar in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., trying to tune out the noise from the beach bums and a jukebox blaring Madonna and the Bangles—when I read these words: Just before noon the horse was led haltingly into a van next to the stallion barn, and there a [...]

Just one question … for Justin Heckert, on the kid who scored 138 points in one game

Justin Heckert had a great late 2012 with stories in Esquire and the New York Times magazine, and then this piece in Sports Illustrated, “The Loneliest Number,” which is about Jack Taylor. Kind of. Remember Jack Taylor? He’s the kid from Grinnell College in Iowa who in a basketball game in November scored 138 points. That [...]

The best in narrative, 2012: Storyboard’s top picks in audio, magazines, newspapers and online

Welcome to Storyboard’s first annual year-end roundup of top storytelling: 34 of our favorite pieces in audio, magazines, newspapers and online, with three of the categories guest curated by Mark Armstrong (online), Julia Barton and Julie Shapiro (audio), and Ben Montgomery, Michael Kruse and Thomas Lake (newspapers). This was a strong year for storytelling, and it was hard to choose. You’ll find pieces that [...]

“The Power of Storytelling,” Part 4: Chris Jones on why stories matter, Pat Walters on endings, Walt Harrington on integrity

In Part 3 of our recap of Romania’s “Power of Storytelling” conference on narrative journalism, radio producer Starlee Kine talked about story forms and themes; Esquire‘s Mike Sager talked about listening, and about suspending disbelief; and Pulitzer winner Alex Tizon talked about writing one’s own story. In Part 2, Pulitzer winner Jacqui Banaszynski wrote a short essay about why she and eight other North American [...]

Jeanne Marie Laskas and Thomas Lake on sportswriting, voice, source love and more (Mayborn 2012, vol. 1)

If you were following the activities out of Grapevine, Texas, last weekend you might’ve seen tweets like this one: And this one: And these: Peter Simek of D magazine recapped this year’s Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference this way: The after-hours antics at the Mayborn are not surprising. Writers are, stereotypically, cocksure, socially starved, self-destructive sorts; booze ignites egos [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 51: Gary Smith and Coach O’Leary’s lies

We may as well begin the way Gary Smith begins – with a question, and near the end. Why is it that when you finish reading “Lying in Wait,” Smith’s 2002 profile of coach George O’Leary, you feel the impact so strongly? And by feel I mean physically feel. It will be different for everyone, [...]