Sports fans, get ready to hate me: as of this issue, my first lasting act as Editor-in-Chief is to cut the Sports section.
Now, don’t get riled up right away; I haven’t been harbouring some deep-seated hatred for the Sports section, plotting a vendetta to control, select all, and delete the athletic content from our pages. This rather sudden change is not-so-sudden, but it needn’t be a permanent rerouting of the Other Press’ history.
For the last month or so, our current Assistant Editor, (and former Sports Editor) Eric Wilkins, and I have split editing and maintaining the Sports section. During this time, we’ve advertised and hoped for a new Sports Editor, to fill the kicks Mr. Wilkins left behind.
As one who is wholly unfamiliar with the world of sports, I’ve felt like a pseudo-Sleeping Beauty, waiting for someone who could awaken me from a sports-saturated existence. My contributions to Sports have been as far from the genre as I can possibly muster while still slotting them into the section, injecting Opinions pieces with some athletic enhancements.
I’m really the last person who should be contributing to anything Sports-like, so I was anticipating the day when an incumbent could champion the section, and I could stop poring over sports news. As days went by and I remained in my state of ephialtes, I gradually came to the realization that something had to change.
While I’m told that the Sports section is one of the most-read sections in a newspaper, it’s unfortunately not the most-written for. Not to perpetuate stereotypes about word nerds, but a fair number of our contributors and staff would be as lost with Sports affairs as I am; this reflects in Sports’ dwindling contributor numbers, and the fact that we didn’t receive a single, solitary application for Sports Editor. One day my prince will come, or he’ll be off-put by the perplexing whirligig of balls, scores, rules, and sports politics.
The last two weeks of realizing I might have to write my “Sport/Schmort” and “Sports Shorts” columns for the rest of my life have been an ensuing scramble to fill this staff gap. I’m genuinely sorry to see the Sports’ section go: first off, it would be tremendously easier to just find someone to fill the darn position. Second, the section’s a popular read, and few newspapers are complete without at least some competitive content. The section and I have also become like step-siblings in our tense time together, learning to negotiate our differences; as I wrote my final Sports piece, I confess I was a little bit sad.
Sorry as I am to see it leave, I’m anxiously excited at the prospect of something new: my first lasting act as EIC will also be to create a brand spanking new position and section. Dearest readers, this is the first issue of the Other Press that will feature a Features section.
We’re venturing into unknown territory since, as far as I know, the Other Press has never had a Features Editor in its almost 40 years. Traditionally, managing the Feature cover story has fallen to the EIC, the Assistant Editor, and the staff and contributors who are enticed by the $50 we pay for it. This will introduce a new page in the newspaper’s story, with someone dedicated to gettin’ the scoops that set the tone for each issue. I can’t wait for someone to take the reins of this new endeavour.
The Sports section might make a return somewhere down the road, and we’re sowing seeds to keep its content secreted between the pages in some way or another. For the time being though, we’re making a line-change.