Over on Deadspin is a ridiculously long essay written by Tom Schreier, a former writer from Bleacher Report, also known as B/R. In it, he details how he wrote and wrote and then wrote some more for B/R, but never made more than $200. He was with B/R for over two years and reached the much coveted status of Featured Columnist III.
Schreier’s B/R sportswriter profile shows that he wrote 551 articles for them. Most, if not all, of his articles were written about Minnesota sports. That’s what B/R usually does, they have an army of writers spread out across the country, writing about local sports teams. His last two articles were posted October 7, 2013.
Bleacher Report is now owned by Turner Broadcasting System. They bought it in 2012 for close to $200 million. B/R is now the official sports portal for CNN. Click on a sports headline on CNN.com and it takes you to B/R. Formerly sports links took you to Sports Illustrated.
I’m not a fan of B/R and almost never read any articles posted there, unless it’s be accident. Too many articles employ the use of slideshows. It’s a cheap gimmick used to get the page view count up. Each “slide” is a new page. The higher the number of page views, the higher the number of advertisements. And B/R has lots and lots of advertisements.
I’ve lived on the planet for close to 50 years (I’m old!) and over that time, I’m learned a few things: don’t use cheap masking tape, don’t order a cheeseburger in the Philippines, and don’t work for free.
I think Schreier was nuts for plugging away so long at B/R without getting paid for his work. People should always be paid for their work, especially when that work is generating revenue.
If Schreier wanted to gain experience writing about Minnesota sports, he should have created his own blog dedicated to Minnesota sports. At least then he could have created his own identity. The problem with honing your skills at B/R is that no matter how good you are at your craft, you’re going to get grouped in with all the other writers at B/R who write for free. Also, if he had created his own blog and wrote his 551 articles there, he would own those articles. The articles he wrote at B/R are owned by B/R. They are still generating revenue for B/R with ads and more ads. Schreier wont ever see a dime of that revenue.
Don’t work for free.