In this day and age, journalism and reporting have taken on a lot of new meanings and interpretations. In Joe Eskenazi’s article, “How Bleacher Report Made Crap Journalism Pay,” he touches on the hesitance of companies to collaborate with the site, as it capitalized on amateur writers and sensationalist headlines. In a way, I do agree. It can be difficult to be taken seriously in journalism when it’s this easy to get anything published.
This raises a general question- what counts?
Bleacher Report caters to today’s newsreader. Being that they’re entirely digital, they make use of online resources to increase readership. “The site’s deft use of search-engine optimization (SEO)—the tweaking of content and coding to increase online visibility—propelled its unpaid amateur writers’ fare to the top of Google’s search-engine results, placing it on equal footing with original work created by established journalistic outlets. It’s a rare sports-related Google search that doesn’t feature a Bleacher Report article among the top results. And once readers click onto Bleacher Report, they stick there—visitors are besieged with applications to subscribe to team-specific newsletters or mobile applications or drawn into click-happy slide shows, polls, or other user-engaging devices that rack up massive page views per visit (to date, a slide show titled “The 20 Most Boobtastic Athletes of All Time” has amassed 1.4 million views)” (Eskenazi, 2012, para. 12).
Essentially, Eskenazi recognizes that the posts are amateur, but also gives them props for turning that into something successful. I agree with this stance. In online media, it’s nearly impossible to just write a story and hope that someone reads it. This is not unlike blogging. Blogs don’t just get famous overnight – it takes time, hard work, and a lot of planning and attention to details. This is actually a large portion of my final paper topic, and I’ve been learning a lot about the entire process (which is definitely not a short one). Some general guidelines are keeping a central theme and sticking to it, which maintains consistency for readers, tapping into your audience however you can – in Bleacher Report’s case, they’ve done meticulous research and use their own analytics team – and feature appealing content and links to keep people on the site.
One blog that grew to be very successful this way is ThisSongIsSick.com. It’s essentially a site dedicated to sharing new music, particularly EDM. They make use of tags, links (to SoundCloud, their social media accounts, official artist websites, etc). They have over 200,000 likes on Facebook and multiple DJs and producers follow them on Twitter. Also, they feature an option to submit songs, which kills two birds with one stone as it allows for budding artists to potentially get recognition, and provides crowdsourced content.
As I’m sure many of us in this class know, internships and entry-level careers today are constantly looking for candidates who can do it all. Media isn’t just writing an article anymore, and technology is constantly innovating and changing. With that being said, I think that Bleacher Report is just keeping up with the times and that their strongest critics are seeing things from a more traditional view.