At SBNation.com, our goal is to produce thoughtful, informative, entertaining and high-quality sports coverage. On February 17, we published a story titled "Who is Daniel Holtzclaw?" which did not live up to our own standards or values, nor the standards and values that our audiences expect from us. We failed our audience — and we especially failed victims of sexual assault and rape, and women of color. The publication of this story is something we will always regret, and for which we hold ourselves accountable. We apologize, and we commit to learning from that failure and becoming a stronger editorial organization.
Following the publishing and removal of "Who is Daniel Holtzclaw," SB Nation and Vox Media requested the creation of a peer review to determine the process and sequence of events that led up to our publication of this story, as well as to address any organizational factors that may have contributed to our publication of this story. The group was made up of four senior editorial leaders from within Vox Media (none of whom have a day-to-day affiliation with SB Nation) and one member external to Vox Media. The peer review group's report was provided to SB Nation Senior Management to help us gain insight on how this happened and, more importantly, help us take action.
The report zeroed in on a few areas that contributed to our editorial breakdown and was instructive helping us identify action to take, or in some cases affirm action we had started to take prior to the publishing of the story.
First, the Longform program operated in relative isolation from the rest the SBNation.com staff and editorial workflow and published at an aggressive pace relative to the staffing. We will not be bringing back the SB Nation Longform Program as it existed previously. Instead, we will launch a new features program later this year.
Second, there were communication breakdowns and some editorial process flaws. In the next few weeks, we will be rolling out some changes to our editorial planning and publishing process for all longer lead and planned pieces, ensuring that each piece is properly resourced for scope and complexity and to improve overall communication and collaboration across SBNation.com.
Third, the lack of overall diversity on the SB Nation staff exposed blind spots. We will continue to work on building and valuing diversity throughout all functions and levels within SB Nation. SB Nation is broadening the editorial structure at the top, and ensuring a wide range of voices makes decisions not just on future features, but on every aspect of our direction, with even greater urgency. If there is one key, unmistakable takeaway from the Holtzclaw story, it is that an organization cannot afford to wait to be diverse, particularly if that organization is one that wants to tell stories.
These are the first steps SBNation.com and SB Nation as a whole are taking to become a stronger organization. None of that erases the problems and failures that led to the publication of the Holtzclaw story. While neither SBNation.com, nor the full SB Nation network of brands, have been or will be defined by this story, we are determined to learn from it.
We will continue to cover sports in the spirit and voice of who we are and have always been -- a fan first sports appreciation machine. Our task now is to do so with greater appreciation and sensitivity, to bring new and different voices to that coverage, and to consistently strive to do and be better for our audience.