Now that we are riding hard into our sixth week of publication, I thought you might like to look at a guidepost which marked the trail at the very start. An early document of SI is one which Assistant Managing Editor Richard Johnston wrote to literary agents and authors interested in submitting material for the new magazine.
This is an article from the Sept. 20, 1954 issue
We are interested in everything in the field of sport—spectator or participant. We define the field as including all sporting competition, whether between human beings or between human beings and natural forces. Thus, baseball obviously is a sport, by our definition, but so is mountain climbing, cave crawling, hiking, and—of course—hunting and fishing.
The new sport magazine will not seek a uniform style from its writers, and whenever it is possible and consistent with editorial standards we will respect the individual style and personality of the author. The standards will be high, with first emphasis on clarity and precision of meaning. We will expect accurate and perceptive reporting, believable dialog and exact characterization. We are not interested in idealizing either sports or sports figures. In short, we hope to provide not a fan magazine, but a necessary magazine for sports fans.
Long before the first issue of SI, we were pleased that this new idea in sports journalism struck a responsive chord not only with writers firmly established as reporters of sport, but with many who were working primarily in other fields and who saw in this magazine a welcome chance to write on sports.
Thus, in addition to articles by our hard-hitting line-up of sports experts, you will soon be reading pieces by Alec Waugh, James T. Farrell, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Cleveland Amory, and Bill Mauldin, to name just a few. Novelist Jerome Weidman has already appeared in these pages, with more to come. In this issue Paul Gallico returns to sport after a long absence (page 53). And for our first fiction, William Heuman contributes a story, Brooklyns Lose (page 31), whose timeliness should probably be noted only with the reservation contained in its last line.