Since joining SI nine years ago, Peter Herbert has been a man of great diversity, serving as our deputy design director and then, in a dramatic change of roles, as our director of editorial operations. In the latter position he shepherded SI through the difficult changeover from an outdated word-processing system to a computer network that integrated the work of the text and art departments, and made production of the magazine vastly more efficient.
Such versatility makes Herbert, 39, perfectly suited for his latest assignment as creative director for new media, a post to which he will devote himself full time after the Summer Olympics. Herbert's artistic influence on new media is already on display at SI's site on CompuServe (GO SPORTS) and its home page on the World Wide Web (http://pathfinder.com/si). For example, while our online articles usually are accompanied by still photographs, this week's account of the Tour DuPont bicycle race is supplemented by a panorama. Over the past two weeks photographer Gabe Palacio took more than 50 rolls of film of the race, 12 frames of which he "stitched" together with virtual reality software to provide a 360-degree view of the event. The addition of audio—captured by Palacio on a digital tape recorder that he carried—makes the presentation more realistic.
"The magazine, being reflective and beautifully put together, is everything that cyberspace, with its minutiae and up-to-the-minute information, is not," says SI multimedia editor Peter Kay. "Peter Herbert is the rare design guy with a deep appreciation of technology. He's the right person to bring these two very different worlds together."
Before moving full time to new media, Herbert will join his successor as director of editorial operations, Anne Jackley, in overseeing SI's computer operations at the Atlanta Games, where we will produce, for the first time, a daily 44-page edition of the magazine for Greater Atlanta distribution, as well as the usual three weekly issues that focus on Olympic coverage. "Unlike the weekly magazine, where you have time to fix a problem with the computer system, a glitch during the production of the daily could have a disastrous effect on our printing and delivery schedules," says Jackley. "Because of the time element, the room for error is basically zero."
A 1985 graduate of Johns Hopkins, where she received a degree in philosophy, Jackley, 31, first worked as a classifieds manager for The City Paper, a Baltimore weekly. She moved up to computer systems manager and then spent two years as operations director at the Manhattan-based alternative weekly New York Press before joining SI in 1990 as systems manager on our publishing side. While Jackley's current position requires considerable technological acumen, it also demands that she serve as a therapist of sorts. "On the one hand, Anne has the difficult, elaborate responsibility of making sure the various computer systems we use are compatible with one another." says SI copy chief Gabe Miller. "But there's a human element involved here, too. She also has the delicate task of making sure people are compatible with the system they're working with."
Well, at least we know that Jackley and Herbert are compatible with their new positions.