We have been listening to the editorial Pitter-patter of little feet around our offices for two years now, and we're happy to tell you that our baby is growing up beautifully. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDS, born in January 1989, now reaches each month more than eight million readers aged eight and older. And as our rambunctious offspring begins its third year of life, it has a new managing editor to succeed John Papanek, who held that job from the magazine's founding until his recent return to SI as managing editor (FROM THE PUBLISHER, NOV. 12). The new editorial chief at SI FOR KIDS is Craig Neff, who, as an SI senior editor, was responsible for our SCORECARD section for the past two years.
Neff, 33, spent his childhood in Roxbury, Conn., before going off to Colgate, where he majored in political science. During his 11 years as a reporter, writer and senior editor at SI, Neff traveled to 23 countries, covering track and field, swimming and other Olympic sports. He also distinguished himself by co-writing several of our stories about Pete Rose's involvement in gambling-coverage that contributed to Rose's expulsion from baseball.
In naming Neff to his new position, Time Warner Inc.'s editor-in-chief, Jason McManus, noted his "combination of youth and laser intelligence." Indeed, Neff looks young enough to pass for one of his readers, and he's sufficiently playful to have posed as Santa Claus—a beardless one, to be sure—for the accompanying photo, which was taken at an SI FOR KIDS staff outing last week in Princeton, N.J. And he's a first-rate journalist, too, with an easy manner that belies a wide interest not only in sports but also in history, literature and social issues.
Looking back on the first two years of SI FOR KIDS, the magazine's publisher, Ann Moore, says, "In this age of television and video games, we worried that kids might not find time in their lives to read a magazine, but they have." In succeeding Papanek, Neff is determined to keep up the quality that makes SI FOR KIDS entertaining at the same time that it teaches lessons in reading, math, geography, science, fitness and social responsibility. "Everything that's important in life is encompassed by the subject of sports," says Neff. "John got us going on the right track. My challenge is to keep us there."