ESPN Magazine Executive Editor Steven Wulf spoke of his journey as a journalist to approximately 45 people at a Calhoun College Master’s Tea Tuesday.
Wulf, who has been with ESPN Magazine since its inception five years ago, spoke of his rise from a fact-checker to an editor at Sports Illustrated. In addition to working at Sports Illustrated for 17 years, he was a senior writer at Time magazine for three years.
At the beginning of the talk, Wulf recalled writing his first story for Sports Illustrated. After spending hours working on the story, his editor returned the article filled with red marks.
Wulf said that after the experience, he realized effective writing meant “just getting the hell out of the way of the story” and presenting it in a clear manner.
Sports writing is exciting because it is never far from controversy, Wulf said.
“Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson didn’t agree on much, but did on hating me,” he said.
During his years at Sports Illustrated, Wulf not only wrote and edited stories but also met his future wife, who is now an editor at Time magazine. They have four children.
“One child was conceived at a Sports Illustrated convention,” Wulf said.
Wulf said he eventually left Sports Illustrated for Time magazine partly because of a controversy over an article he wrote on Michael Jordan’s short-lived baseball career. He said that some misinterpreted comments and a poor title written by his editors paved the way for his departure to Time.
At Time, Wulf wrote a cover story about the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The article, written in a span of 24 hours, earned him the prestigious Overseas Press Club Award.
Wulf said he enjoys his current position as the number-two man at ESPN Magazine because it gives him creative control of the publication. During his tenure, annual circulation has increased nearly sixfold to approximately 2 million copies. Wulf said his vision for the magazine is to make it an integral part of ESPN television and the ESPN Web site, ESPN.com.
David Friedlander ’05 said he enjoyed listening to a speaker who not only had a “clear grasp of sports” but also a down-to-earth personality.
Calhoun College Master William Sledge said he was interested in the talk because he is an avid sports fan who plays a variety of sports ranging from football to intramural co-ed water polo.
During the question and answer session of the talk, audience members asked Wulf about his predictions for this year’s World Series.
His reply — “The Anaheim Angels.”