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SBD/September 19, 2013/Media
Howard Beck Explains Move To Bleacher Report, Calls It A "Fantastic Opportunity"
Published September 19, 2013
Q: The idea of leaving the N.Y. Times for Bleacher Report -- I find that hard to grasp. How did you come to that decision?
Beck: I understand your reaction to it and the reaction of a lot of people yesterday. I would have reacted the same way. It certainly took a lot of deliberation to decide to do it. I love newspapers. I love the N.Y. Times. I had every intention of being there for the rest of my career. I wasn't even looking to leave until this really compelling opportunity came along. What's intriguing about it is that this is something new. Your reaction sums it up. It strikes you as a radical change. I'm a pretty change-averse person in general, but this sounded like a lot of fun and a really great adventure -- to basically jump in just as these guys are making some major changes to the site. To be able to be part of the first team that's going in to steer the editorial direction under Turner and help build this up is just a fantastic opportunity.
Q: Describe the negotiations.
Beck: They approached me back in the spring. (Senior Deputy Editor) Dylan MacNamera sent me an e-mail introducing himself and saying that they'd like to chat. I knew what Bleacher Report was. I was familiar with what they did. I thought, "OK, let's have a conversation." I didn't know where it was going to lead. He made an initial pitch about where they were heading and mentioning that they were purchased by Turner and were going to be building the site up and hiring veteran, professional journalists to staff the place. I thought, "This sounds intriguing, but let's see where this goes." As you might expect, there was some trepidation initially about making a move like that. I kept talking to Dylan and (Editor in Chief) Joe Yanarella and eventually Brian Grey, the CEO, over the course of several months. I was sold on where they're going with this.
Q: What are you most excited about?
Beck: This is a chance to spread my wings a little bit. I've always considered myself a print guy -- a newspaper guy to the core, a proud ink-stained wretch. I'm a writer and reporter. That's what I do. I didn't think of myself as necessarily a TV guy or a digital guy, but there's going to be opportunities here to explore other areas. At this stage of my life and this stage of my career, this is a chance to expand my horizons a little bit and challenge myself in different ways. That was really attractive. But the fact that this is a completely new phase for Bleacher Report -- the editorial mission is obviously changing. They didn't go out and hire us to continue doing what the site has been doing. They hired us because we're experienced journalists who can add a new level of depth and quality to the site. Part of the allure is helping build that up. That site's been around for a while. But the Bleacher Report that people think they know is not the Bleacher Report that they're going to be seeing soon. To be in at the beginning to help shape that in some way is really exciting.