Last month, Sports Illustrated informed five staffers that they were being laid off as the publication looked to cut costs. College basketball reporter Seth Davis quickly revealed he was part of those layoffs, and editor Lindsay Applebaum later confirmed that she, too, was let go of.
On Friday, college sports reporter Lindsay Schnell shared on her personal blog that she had been laid off as well.
Typically in journalism, when Reporter #1 gets laid off, he/she calls Reporter #2 to break the news. Reporter #2 makes shocked and sympathetic noises, assuring Reporter #1 that he/she will be fine, he/she will land on his/her feet and while it feels awful now, everything is going to be OK. The entire time, Reporter #2 is asking him/herself one question, over and over: Am I next?
I say this with some authority because for four years, I was Reporter #2. Now I’m Reporter #1.
Like many writers, Schnell dreamed of writing for Sports Illustrated, and she wrote Friday about her pride at having fulfilled that dream. She seemed to have a healthy perspective on her situation, noting that people in other industries lose their jobs all the time with no fanfare.
I got the call from my boss at Sports Illustrated on May 11, informing me that my position at SI was being eliminated, and I would now join the long line of journalists looking for work. At the risk of sounding not terribly eloquent, it really sucks. But my childhood dream was to write for Sports Illustrated, and I did that. No one can take that away from me. Also let’s be honest: At this point in my industry, it’s sort of a badge of honor to be laid off. I’m joining some very talented company.
I think a lot of people who work in sports full-time tend to lose perspective, and I’m working hard not to do that. Yes, it really stinks that I lost my job. But if you think there’s a lot of carnage in journalism, you should read up on the retail industry. I’m well aware that across the country, there are men and women who show up for work and are told it will be their last day at this or that department store, before they’re handed a final paycheck with no severance package. Then they have to go home and figure out how to provide for their family.
Schnell, who is based in Portland and specialized in Pac-12 and Big 12 coverage for SI, is an experienced reporter and a talented podcaster, so she shouldn’t be unemployed too long. But that knowledge doesn’t take away from the fact that, as she wrote, layoffs “really suck.”
As for SI, we reported last month that their college sports coverage would take a hit in these layoffs, and with Schnell and Davis both gone, that definitely seems to be the case.