Sports Illustrated recently hired a pair of senior writers with newspaper pedigrees – the New York Times‘ Damon Hack and Jim Trotter of the San Diego Union Tribune – away from their respective papers. (Both were African-American, notes Journal-isms’ Richard Prince, tripling the total of black senior writers on staff.)

But SI group managing editor Terry McDonnel faces stiff talent recruitment competition from ESPN, where its multiplatform cache is too splashy to pass up. Take, for instance, the explanation given by columnist J.A. Adande, who McDonnel tried to lure after Adande took a buyout from Los Angeles Times: "I wouldn’t say I ‘turned down’ Sports Illustrated because I’m not sure it ever came to a formal offer. Yes, Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Terry McDonnel called me when h found out I was leaving the Times. I was flattered that SI would think of me, and McDonnel had some intriguing ideas for what I could do for them. But I couldn’t continue to appear on Around the Horn in that scenario."