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Volume 25 No. 27
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Bleacher Report Adds Prominent Bloggers For "Lead Writer Program"

Bleacher Report has created a new "Lead Writer Program" in which featured contributors will help shape the open-source sports journalism hub's content and direction. The move follows the hiring earlier this year of King Kaufman from Salon.com to be manager of writer development, and the creation of a compensation program to pay select top writers on the site. The initial five lead writers hired are Dan Levy, formerly of SportingNews.com and WashingtonPost.com; Matt Miller, founder of the NFL draft site New Era Scouting; Dan Rubenstein, co-founder and co-host of independent college football podcast "The Solid Verbal;" Josh Zerkle, co-founder of NFL blog Kissing Suzy Kolber and a former contributor to Deadspin and WashingtonPost.com; and Bethlehem Shoals, founder of NBA blog FreeDarko and a regular contributor to GQ.com (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In response to the moves, SI's Richard Deitsch wrote on Twitter, "Bleacher Report (and I've got my issues with them) just made some excellent hires." Blogger Brooks Melchior wrote, "Congrats to B/R for some strong hires." CBS Sports' Eric Kay: "I'm intrigued by what Bleacher Report is doing. Locked up some young talent there." SI's Andy Staples: "I'm really not sure I can make fun of Bleacher Report anymore." Yahoo Sports' Maggie Hendricks: "How can I make fun of Bleacher Report when some of my favorite guys write for it?"

VIEW FROM THE BLEACHERS: The five lead writers all posted their first entries for Bleacher Report yesterday. Zerkle wrote, "I’ve been a sports blogger for six years. ... 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." Zerkle added, "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. These were things that I took into consideration when Bleacher Report reached out to me." Levy wrote, "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. ... Like it or not, the existing model of Bleacher Report is working." Shoals wrote: "What makes this company so impressive, and why I'm excited to be working with them, is that they actually care about understanding the Internet" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 8/22).