The remarkable speed by which today’s media operates reveals how Sports Illustrated reacted in deadline time to changing its cover story and print coverage in a matter of hours — the Boston Marathon bombings will be the focus of this week’s magazine, capped off by a photo stamped at 2:50 p.m. Monday on Boylston Street.
SI Managing Editor Chris Stone explains in a press release issued today how this came to happen:
Q: With Monday being the weekly deadline for the magazine, how did the process go yesterday?
A: With the deadline rapidly approaching soon after the tragedy occurred, our team of editors and writers quickly worked together to provide our readers with coverage that is highly personal and emotional. And we had to change this week’s SI cover at the last minute with a photo from the many that were coming in from the scene.
Q: Why did you go with this cover?
A: After meeting with senior editors late Monday afternoon, we chose to run the cover photo because we felt it truly captured the horrific moment at the end of the race—there’s a fallen runner, police with their guns drawn and loose debris from the explosion. Inside SI, we wanted to help tell the story through photos and words (as written on the cover). We dedicated the entire “Leading Off” section to photos from Boston. They are extremely emotional and do a great job of chronicling the chaos that ensued.
Q: With little time to spare, how did you decide on what content to run?
A: One of our best writers—S.L. Price—was in Boston on another assignment, staying in a hotel frequented my many runners just three miles from the finish line. After interviewing runners and witnesses, he wrote brilliantly in our Scorecard on the state of shock felt by those there in Boston and how the great city sadly joins a growing list of suffering cities that have been struck by tragedy. We felt strongly about putting this article up immediately on SI.com as well.
(A link to that story is here. SI’s “Point After” also includes an essay by Steve Rushin on his memories of the marathon with his 8 year old daughter last summer. The story is here.)
Q: How will SI continue to cover this story?
A: I am extremely proud of the great work done by our team to close an issue focusing on such a horrific tragedy at the 11th hour of our weekly deadline. As details continue to emerge, SI.com and the SI iPad app will have on-the-scene coverage from Boston.