Long before she became a reporter at SI, it was clear that Stefanie Scheer had the right instincts for journalism. Ever since her formative years in Brookline, Mass., she has kept files—some of which she maintains to this day—on an array of subjects that have caught her interest. Current files range from a complete collection of The New York Times's "Life in the 30's" columns by Anna Quindlen, whom Scheer admires for her writing, to news clips and photographs of John Kennedy Jr., which Scheer began collecting in the eighth grade.
This devotion to information gathering has served ST well since Scheer joined us in 1987, two years after her graduation from Harvard and fresh from a stint with CBS News, where she helped cover the '86 elections. For this week's issue, Scheer, whose beat is tennis, provided reporting for senior writer Curry Kirkpatrick's story on the U.S. Open (page 22) and for special contributor George Plimpton's piece on the vanquished opponents of Steffi Graf (page 28). "She's a terrific resource," says senior editor Bill Colson. "If she finds something in a story that doesn't check out, she always comes up with a relevant, interesting and accurate replacement for it."
Scheer's interests in tennis and journalism are longstanding. While at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., she played varsity tennis and served as the sports editor of the school's weekly paper, The Phillipian. Both interests continued during her college years: Scheer played second-team varsity tennis at Harvard and served internships at WBZ-TV in Boston, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. She also took a crack at politics. At 19, she was elected a member of the Brookline Town Meeting.
Keeping elaborate files isn't Scheer's only idiosyncrasy; she has the strange habit of holding a pencil between her second and ring fingers, down near the point, as she hurriedly scribbles notes. "I learned how to write before I went to school," Scheer says, "so I hold the pencil the way I used to hold a crayon." That eccentricity provided a conversation opener when Scheer sat next to Wilt Chamberlain at the 1988 U.S. Open. "You sure hold your pencil funny," said the Dipper.
Although Scheer's affection for tennis is obvious, there are other reasons she enjoys covering the sport. It has taken her to such venues as Paris and Amelia Island, Fla. "The most important thing about a beat," says Scheer, echoing a real estate maxim, "is location, location, location."
Scheer's reportage has been a net gain for SI.