In Long Lead’s latest production “The Catch,” adventure and environmental journalist Emily Sohn describes how pioneering Sports Illustrated writer Virginia Kraft, the subject of her profile, “was something of an enigma to her colleagues.” A veteran of the staff since the storied magazine’s launch, Kraft was rarely in the office and was known to keep to herself. “She seemed aristocratic and classy, on another level” to her peers, Sohn reports.


Since publishing “The Catch” last month, the world has gotten to know Kraft much better, and is lamenting her loss earlier this year.


“What a magnificent piece of journalism,” remarks Curry Kirkpatrick, whose Sports Illustrated writing career launched in 1969, lasted 27 years at the publication, and resulted in being named to the National Sports Media Association’s Hall of Fame. “Such a fascinating creature was ‘Ginny’ — and we all really did call her that.”


“Now I am really saddened that my young, naive, self — in awe of the big city, bewildered by the big magazine and thoroughly intimidated by this aristocratic, mysterious, fabulous older woman in our midst — didn’t march myself down the long hallway, sit myself down in her office and demand that Ginny Kraft tell me everything about her pioneering, adventurous, spectacular life!” Kirkpatrick adds. “It would have been my finest moment.”


The story of Kraft’s life, and Sohn’s reporting of it, have caught the eye of some of journalism’s best critics. In the weeks since its launch, “The Catch” has been recommended by Flipboard, The Sunday Long Read, The Atlantic’s Nicholas Thompson in his newsletter The Best Things to Read, and Polina Pompliano in her newsletter The Profile, among others. In an in-depth interview with Brendan O’Meara on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, Sohn described her journey of reporting on Kraft and working with the feature’s editor Glenn Stout.


Kraft’s history is so compelling that “The Catch” has even caught the eye of mainstream sports writers. Peter King, a 29-year veteran of Sports Illustrated himself, shared “The Catch” with his Pro Football Talk newsletter. “There’s this story about someone, I’m ashamed to say, I’d never heard of,” writes King. “Virginia Kraft was the first star female writer at Sports Illustrated, and yet she has nothing near the rep of the Tex Maules, Dan Jenkinses and Frank Defords. Gee, I wonder why.”

Find out for yourself by reading “The Catch” today.