There’s been a lot of talk about the growing importance of Sports Illustrated’s digital operations and SI TV to the larger brand, and that perhaps comes through in their most recent hires. SI announced Monday that they’ve brought in Charlotte Wilder, Shemar Woods, and Emma Baccellieri, three journalists known for their work at digital outlets, and that they’re all going to work “on a cross-platform basis with the editorial, digital and programming teams.”
Here’s more from their release:
“We’re thrilled to add three of the brightest, most creative young journalists in the industry,” said Chris Stone, Editor-in-Chief for Sports Illustrated at Meredith Corporation. “Charlotte, Shemar and Emma each have sharp, unique voices, which will play beautifully across all our platforms, whether that’s SI.com, the magazine or SI TV.”
Charlotte Wilder joins Sports Illustrated as a Senior Writer and Video Host. She will take on a number of roles with Sports Illustrated TV (SI TV), ranging from modular studio-based programming to long-form documentary. In the magazine, on SI.com, and as the host of a new podcast, Wilder will write and opine on the intersection of sports and the broader culture. It is a space she built to much critical acclaim most recently at Vox/SB Nation, and before that at USA Today Sports and . Charlotte’s work has also appeared in GQ, Racked, Thrillist, Complex, Boston Magazine, Down East Magazine and Departures. She is a regular guest on NPR, where she has also guest-hosted “It’s Only a Game.”
Shemar Woods arrives at Sports Illustrated as a Senior Editor. He will lead the nights-and-weekends desk, responsible for the editorial oversight and leadership of the night staff and its content. A 2011 graduate of Hampton (Va.) University, Woods has spent the past two years at MLB.com as a Homepage Editor, supervising the nightly content production for all 30 team sites. He previously worked for the New York Daily News, ESPN New York and ESPN (NOW). Woods, who resides in Harlem, interned at the Washington Post and is an alumnus of the Sports Journalism Institute.
Emma Baccellieri comes to Sports Illustrated from Deadspin, where she distinguished herself as a wry chronicler of the absurd in the sports world since 2016. She went spelunking in MLB’s collective bargaining agreement for obscure provisions relating to clubhouse carpet cleanliness; she discovered the business behind the football-field-sized flags deployed during the anthem; she found the darkness in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She has written most prolifically about baseball, on topics from the future of Statcast to the MLBPA’s shortcomings. She will be writing regularly on baseball at SI.
It’s notable that SI is hiring more people from prominent digital backgrounds, and that they’re emphasizing the integration of SI TV, SI.com and the magazine itself in what they’re writing about these moves. That’s particularly true with what they’ve written about Wilder’s new role here, and it’s interesting that they’re going to have her do everything from studio programming to documentaries at SI TV; both of those categories have previously been explored there, but largely by separate people. (This also makes sense for Wilder, considering that she previously described a role doing more video and potentially doing documentaries as a goal in a SI Media podcast earlier this year.)
And while there may be some magazine contributions from some or all of these new staffers, it sounds like a lot of their work will be on the digital side in one form or another. That fits into what Stone told AA a couple of years ago about the need to further integrate digital with print and about the need to invest in “digital and non-core” (read: non-print) assets. That seems to be where SI is putting a lot of their resources, and that makes sense in the 2018 media landscape.
There are still lots of challenges out there for SI, which has had its share of layoffs over the years and which is facing some uncertainty as part of Meredith Corp., especially with plenty of reports that Meredith is looking to sell the brand (and other ones that don’t fit its core audience). But it’s notable that they’re adding to their staff, and adding some pretty prominent names. It’s also notable that they’re focusing on digital and SI TV with those hires. We’ll see what Wilder, Woods and Baccellieri do at SI; they all start May 14.