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From Sports Illustrated to Delivering Amazon Packages

December 27th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Journalism, Sports Journalism

Interesting post-journalism story making the rounds.

A veteran writer for Sports Illustrated, laid off last year, is earning $17 an hour delivering packages for Amazon. And now he has written about his career change for The Atlantic.

The past decade has been brutal for print journalists, a span of time during which withering publications laid off reporters by the hundreds and thousands.

One of them was Austin Murphy, someone I believe I can see, in my mind’s eye, in a Southern California press box. Particularly at the L.A. Coliseum, where he generally sat in the far end of the first row of reporters. I associate him with USC football games and, actually, I assumed he had some connection with the Trojans because he looked like a Trojan and dressed like one. At least, the way I envision them.

It is Murphy who was sent packing by SI, which published what he estimated to be more than 140 cover stories in his career. He also wrote several books.

But there he was, cut loose by SI at 57, an awkward age to be out of work, given the resistance by many employers to hiring “someone of a certain age”.

In his story, he writes that he and his wife needed to demonstrate a bit more income to make a real-estate transaction.

Ultimately, that led to Murphy delivering packages. While driving battered vehicles. Trying to find front doors of oddly laid-out neighborhoods. Worried about where he might be able to urinate, while on the job — a surprisingly pressing problem, we are told.

The story is one of the most significant yet in the genre of “what’s next for sports writers”.

The author went from a high-status print job to the grinding reality of getting packages onto porches, and in the process he comes to appreciate how difficult the job is — and he seems intent on being successful at it.

It is worth a read.





1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Jan 6, 2019 at 1:33 AM

    If you re-watch Vince Young’s run into the end zone in the epic BCS title game against USC, he ends up right next to Austin Murphy among the scrum of scribes just out of bounds.

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