When Staff Writer Julia Lamb was asked to help coordinate and edit elements of our 15th annual swimsuit issue, it seemed a fitting assignment for one who has had a long association with the more aqueous aspects of sport. For 11 years Lamb was our boating reporter; indeed, in 1962 we hired her straight off the boat—a Yugoslavian freighter, to be exact.
"I had spent a year or so traveling in Europe after getting my degree in medieval history from Vassar," she says, "and when I landed in New York I answered an ad in the first newspaper I read."
The opening was for a copy girl, which she was for six months before being promoted to the clip desk of the sports library and, after that, to reporter. During her stint as boating reporter, Lamb, who hails from landlocked Michigan, N. Dak. (pop. 550), covered four America's Cup campaigns during which she gobbled down hundreds of Marezines to ward off seasickness.
Lamb recalls that her first sight of the ocean was something less than an esthetic experience. "I had come East to go to college," she says, "and it was on this trip that I first saw an ocean. At Coney Island. On the Fourth of July. What impressed me most was not the water or the rolling surf, it was all those half-naked sunburned bodies lying on the beach. It was an unforgettable sight." And a far cry from the bodies gracing the beaches of the Seychelles (page 37 et seq.), which are unforgettable in their own right.
Lamb's principal duty, which she assumed last November, is editing what we call the regionals, those stories found in the very front and very back of the magazine: Booktalks, Footlooses, Viewpoints, Shopwalks in the front, and the longer, first-person accounts of sporting experiences in the back—As I Did It, As I Saw It, etc.—as well as the historical Yesterday pieces. These are called regionals because they appear on pages carrying advertising that runs only in designated sections of the country—in the East, South, Midwest and West, or combinations thereof. A regional that runs in all sections simultaneously we call a national. Ain't journalism grand!
Apart from editing them, scheduling and keeping track of when and where each regional story has run can make one reach for an aspirin if not a Marezine. But Lamb has handled the job with competence and composure, though she does admit that "The scheduling process can become extremely complicated, especially when we are trying to close as many as seven different regional stories in a single week, with only three or four appearing in any one region."
Besides being a highly capable editor, Lamb is a fine writer—her last piece for SI, on the roller-skating boom, ran in our Oct. 30, 1978 issue—but we are most fortunate that for the present she is keeping a firm hand on the regional tiller.
LAMB: THE REGIONALS ARE HER REGION