On Monday night we put the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated to bed. Early Tuesday, Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew passed away. Seeing as how the only way to get coverage into the print issue would be to go door-to-door and hand our subscribers updated pages, we decided to focus our efforts on the digital editions of the magazine. The result: some pretty amazing coverage that underscores the awesomeness that comes with the flexibility that tablets provide.
To wit: A classic photo of Killebrew was inserted into the Leading Off section, and three links were put on the page. The links led to tributes written by Tom Verducci, Steve Rushin and Joe Posnanski. As sportswriting trios go, it doesn’t get much better than that. And each piece was accompanied by a different timeless photo of Killebrew. It makes for a wonderful tribute—and a nice reminder of the fluidity that is possible in the digital era.
Expect to see more of the same going forward—even when there aren’t major news breaks after the print deadline. Last week Chris Hercik, SI’s creative director, gave a sneak preview of version 2.0 of the SI iPad app, which will be out in July. The most prominent feature is automatically refreshing content embedded in the magazine, so readers will have the latest news right there on the same page as the stories from the magazine.
The Killebrew collection wasn’t the only digital extra this week, of course. The gripping cover story about how last month’s brutal tornado in Tuscaloosa affected University of Alabama athletes—and their role in contributing to the effort to rebuild Tuscaloosa—was accompanied by a video featuring the story’s author, Lars Anderson, who lives in Birmingham and teaches a class at Alabama. The NBA story about the Chicago Bulls’ defense was enhanced by a graphic breakdown of each player’s responsibilities, as well as a preview of the Western Conference finals—the kind of up-to-the-second digital news piece that will become even more prominent in the coming weeks.