It looks like the changes at SB Nation are continuing. Back in March 2017, SB Nation named Elena Bergeron as their first-ever editor in chief, but she stepped away from that role in February and left the company in March before joining The New York Times as an assistant editor in June. Ryan Nanni was named interim editor-in-chief at the time of Bergeron leaving that role in February, but it now seems that Graham MacAree has replaced Nanni in that role.
MacAree is a long-time presence on the soccer side of SB Nation in particular, but has also held engineering roles with the company. His current SB Nation profile page currently has him as “storytelling director.” His recent posts include a collaboration on NBA draft mood boards and WNBA season previews for each team, then MLB pieces from April on Khris Davis, Ozzie Albies and Mike Trout). He tweeted Tuesday that he’s SB Nation’s new interim EIC:
all right so i'll do the some personal news thing: i'm now (interim) editor-in-chief of @sbnation. i'm excited to help guide my long-time internet home to new and even weirder places. going to be fun
— Graham MacAree (@MacAree) July 9, 2019
It feels somewhat unusual to have one interim editor-in-chief replace another one after five months with no permanent hire made. But SB Nation has only ever had one full editor-in-chief (Bergeron), with previous editorial leadership involving a vice-president (editorial) in Kevin Lockland. (Curiously, SBNation.com/masthead still has Bergeron listed as editor in chief four months after she left the company and a month after she took a new job elsewhere; it also has MacAree listed as “editorial engineering manager.”) So this isn’t a company that’s always had someone in that specific title. SB Nation is also part of the larger corporation of Vox Media, which may impact timelines on a hire as significant as a full editor-in-chief; that role isn’t just about SBNation.com and the network team sites, but also about how SB Nation integrates with everything else Vox is doing.
At any rate, there are lots of swirling issues for SB Nation. Last month saw Vox Media agree to a contract with a union of staffers after a marathon 29-hour bargaining session and more than 300 employees walking off the job in a one-day protest. That contract was ratified by editorial staff across Vox Media properties, and it covers around 350 employees at Vox’s various sites, including SB Nation (but not the team sites). The team sites are key to ongoing litigation against SB Nation (first filed in September 2017) that contends site managers pass the standard to be employees rather than contractors, and that doesn’t appear close to resolution. And then there are of course plenty of issues that pertain to internet publishing as a whole, including standing out in a crowded media environment and dealing with advertising downturns. We’ll see where SB Nation goes under MacAree.
[Graham MacAree on Twitter]