The five new hires of Bleacher Report all wrote introductions for their new sports home. Below are excerpts:
Bethlehem Shoals, NBA Lead Writer – Sometimes I wonder how many critics bagging on Bleacher Report’s approach or content actually ever look at the site – or their own. Slideshows are everywhere now; maybe a lot of writers here are still learning their craft, but there are plenty of name bloggers and columnists who could stand to go back to school. What’s more, this place knows it has to get better. They brought in King Kaufman to help their writers; when Harvard’s Nieman Lab does a story on the program, you know it’s being taken seriously. I regularly get emails asking for career advice, tips on how to break into the business. They could do far worse than to start out at a place that can guarantee them eyeballs; get input from King that will help them as writers; and learn about what people really want to read in a way that doesn’t limit their options. Oh, and start to get paid while they’re figuring it out.
Dan Levy, National Lead Writer – My name is Dan Levy and I am a part of Bleacher Report. Reading that first line over and over again in my head feels like I’m saying this to a room full of strangers, and I look down and see a “Hello My Name Is” tag on my chest before slowly realizing I am not wearing any pants. Me, the guy who has publicly ripped this company on my podcast, in writing and on Twitter more than almost anyone in the last three years, is now part of their Lead Writer Program. I am a part of Bleacher Report. This is not a dream. Certainly this is real, but the longer I’ve been out in San Francisco getting a sense for what this company is trying to do, the more surreal it feels. The new Bleacher Report offices are straight out of a Hollywood set-designer’s back pocket for a movie about up-and-coming Silicon Valley dot-com, right down to the ping pong table and rooms named after sports legends with giant murals you can see from anywhere on the floor. It genuinely feels too good to be true, but it is true. Like it or not, the existing model of Bleacher Report is working.
Dan Rubenstein, College Football Lead Writer – Writing and producing college football content is my fourth favorite thing to do in life behind napping, eating sandwiches, and rocketing down (intermediate) water slides. Unfortunately for me, Bleacher Report wisely refused to let me do any of these things for them professionally, so I opted to accept an offer from the site to do number four. Since you’re reading this, you’re either a regular Bleacher Report reader or you’ve managed to follow a link to this page to see where I’ll be writing. It should also be noted that if you’ve reached this point while trying to find a link to a FREE KIM KARDASHIAN SEX TAPE, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. (That one was for the SEO guys in the back.) Be warned — in my advanced age, I’ve grown more and more apathetic toward extreme opinion, so if you can’t stand Bleacher Report or my writing, I probably won’t respond with nearly the passion and enthusiasm you’re used to. Also, YOU CAN ALL CHOKE AND DIE.
Josh Zerkle, NFL Lead Writer – I’ve been a sports blogger for six years. During that time, I’ve become part of an amazing community of writers, entrepreneurs and sports fans. I’ve contributed to several successful blogs, some of which actually paid me for my work. Our community sometimes resembles a bizarre, cross-country clique, one whose favorite pastime has been to publicly ridicule this site. To us, Bleacher Report was a faceless factory of slideshows and sportswriting gruel, and nothing more. I was a part of this clique that took shots at Bleacher Report every chance we could get. In a lot of ways, we were blasting the very blogger meritocracy that we’d been trumpeting in front of traditional media. Why should ANYONE be able to top the Google search rankings? Only WE should be able to do that. B/R was not something any of us held in high regard. It’s amazing that we were able to post anything with our noses held so high in the air. But one of the things I’ve learned over the last year is that a lot of folks outside of our clique did not share this negative view. They saw the site’s audience of 20 million monthly visitors. They saw their consistent efforts in attempting to engage readers. And I’d imagine that they also saw the efforts the company was making to pay their better writers.
Matt Miller, NFL Draft Lead Writer – In November I stumbled upon Bleacher Report after seeing it mentioned on Twitter. Until that point, I had never heard of the company. What I found was exactly the platform I thought I needed to get my work seen. That November I was put in contact with NFL Deputy Editor Dylan MacNamara. Thankfully, Dylan saw something in my work and shared my vision for year-round NFL Draft coverage. Today, Bleacher Report is giving me an opportunity to make draft coverage better for millions of readers – 3 million thus far – and that’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I put a lot of time into researching and thinking about each article so that the content you consume is accurate, entertaining and thoughtful. I pity those writers who hate their editors, because at Bleacher Report it’s different. Not to say I didn’t work my ass off, because I did, especially when holding down a day job for the first five months of the year. Hard work pays off at B/R, because there are smart people in place to notice those who consistently turn out high-quality work. I’m constantly meeting new people at B/R who blow me away. The vision of this place, from the front-end programming to the back-end analytics, is astounding. Coming from a situation where I couldn’t get 1,000 people per day to read New Era Scouting to having articles reach over 300,000 reads in a few days is both humbling and inspiring. Working at Bleacher Report has been an awakening for me as to what is possible when you put really smart people with a love for sports together in a room and ask them to create the best sports website they can. The result is what you see here every day. For any writer, new or old, who wants a chance to jump-start a career in sports media, I cannot imagine a better place to both have your work seen and also to have a chance at a paycheck to do this. Because, let’s be honest, how many media outlets are hiring these days?