1) After reading material published over the course of the previous year, in mid-February the Series Editor sends the Guest Editor approximately 75 recommendations of stories that fit the publisher’s criteria for selection made over the course of the previous year. The Series Editor turns all such recommendations into Word files; to help insure the integrity of the process, none are identified by author or source*, and none are ranked in any way. They are simply recommendations.
2) Approximately one month later, the Guest Editor makes the final selection of approximately 25 stories that make the book each year. The Guest Editor’s selections need not be confined only to those stories recommended by the Series Editor. The Guest Editor is free to select ANY stories published during the previous calendar year that are qualified. None need to be recommended by the Series Editor.
3) Final selections are entirely the decision of the Guest Editor according to his or her own tastes and criteria, according to literary merit. Since each Guest Editor brings a unique perspective and life experience to the task, the character and style of stories selected is unique to each volume. Final selection of the guest editor is the decision of the publisher, not the series editor.
The Best American Sports Writing is not a contest or a competition, nor is it intended to be. It is, by definition and design, and as the title suggests, an inherently subjective collection, but as such, since its conception, although it is not possible to accurately measure submissions according to ethnicity and gender, although selections have tended to reflect industry-wide sports media demographics in regard to subject, style and representation, in most instances, representation has been in advance of industry norms.
See the two reports below. According to the # of bylines, in Sports, newspapers are 90% male, wire services 86%, and on-line 79%. In the survey of surveys, for Sports journalists 17% are minority and 10% are women.
* Note: In the early years of this series, before stories were widely available electronically, this was not the case. Series editor selections were often simply copies of printed material and author and source were often apparent. When electronic files became available, the Series Editor made the decision not to identify stories by author or source. Apart from this, the selection process has been unchanged since the series’ inception in 1991, and has appeared in the foreword of every edition.