April 4, 2004 by

Sidney James

1 comment

Categories: Media, Sports, Writers/Editors

Sidney Lorraine James, the founding editor of Sports Illustrated, died on March 11. Cause of death was not released. He was 97.
James launched his journalism career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He freelanced for Time Magazine, and was offered a staff writer position in 1936. Over the next decade, he would serve as the publication’s Chicago bureau chief and the chief of its western editorial operations in Los Angeles.
After World War II, James moved to New York, worked his way up the editorial ranks at Life and coordinated the first televised coverage of the Republican and Democratic national conventions in 1948 with NBC. Five years later, Time Inc.’s co-founder Henry R. Luce tapped him to develop a national publication devoted to sports.
Sports Illustrated debuted on Aug. 16, 1954. James spent six years as SI’s top editor and five as its publisher. He was also responsible for convincing William Faulkner, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck to contribute articles.
In the 1970s, James became the chairman of the National Public Affairs Center for Television, and helped coordinate the gavel-to-gavel coverage of Senate Watergate hearings for public television. His memoir, “Press Pass: The Journalist’s Tale,” was published in 1994.

One Response to Sidney James

  1. robert herzstein

    my condolences to mr. james’s family and friends. I met mr james in the 1990s, when i was working on a book about henry r luce and american policy in east asia during the cold war. he was extremely helpful, and he provided me with copies of important documents related to his career at time inc. I was reminded of him, when reading page proofs of this book, which is forthcoming. he was a gracious host and a helpful source. robert herzstein

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