Terry McDonell’s reign as editor of Sports Illustrated and the Time Inc. Sports Group has finally come to an end. According to Time Inc. editor in chief John Huey, who announced the news in a company-wide email earlier today, McDonell started searching for his replacement over the summer and will now become a senior adviser for the company, “concentrating on digital projects he has in incubation.”
McDonell joined Sports Illustrated in 2002 from Wenner Media, where he had been vp/editor in chief of Us, and before that, Men’s Journal. During the course of his career, McDonell also served as editor in chief of Sports Afield (at the time, a Hearst title) and Esquire, managing editor of Rolling Stone, and assistant managing editor of Newsweek. Earlier this year, he was inducted into ASME’s Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame.
Paul Fichtenbaum, who recently became editorial director of Time Inc.'s sports group, will replace McDonell as sports group editor. Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated assistant managing editor Chris Stone, a 20-year veteran of the magazine, will become its m.e. In his email, Huey highlighted both editors’ digital backgrounds: Fichtenbaum spent more than eight years as managing editor of SportsIllustrated.com, while Stone helped launch the magazine’s iPad app.
“This new structure says several things about the continuing evolution of SI into a premier multiplatform sports publisher,” wrote Huey. “Foremost is that while the need for editorial focus on both the digital and print sides of the title has never been stronger, the need for bringing all those skills together into one seamless team is also essential.”
Although Sports Illustrated’s circulation remained flat for the first half of the year, its ad numbers were soft, with pages dropping 5.5 percent year over year.