If you’re familiar with the blogosphere at all, you know Bleacher Report – and there’s a decent chance you know it through the seemingly-constant shots it takes from elsewhere in said blogosphere. The massive amounts of content that help it rule search engines, those slideshows – mocking the site is practically an internet rite of passage.
Earlier this year, though, the site announced a step that suggested it was getting serious about improving the quality of its content: they hired Salon’s King Kaufman to head writer development at the site. (One major development initiative was detailed here.) And today comes what’s potentially an even bigger step toward Bleacher Report gaining the respect of those who mock it: they hired five new people to write for the site…and many of them spent as much, or more, time knocking the site than anyone.
The names: Dan Levy, host of the late On the DL podcast; Matt Miller, NFL draft expert; Dan Rubenstein, host of college football podcast The Solid Verbal; Josh Zerkle, Kissing Suzy Kolber co-founder and former With Leather editor, and Bethlehem Shoals, Free Darko and The Classical co-founder/contributor everywhere.
In this story from Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown, some of those new hires freely admitted they’ve been some of Bleacher Report’s harshest critics in the past. Said Levy, who seemed somewhat in disbelief about the whole thing, “This is not a dream.” Zerkle said that he’d previously viewed the site as “a faceless factory of slideshows and sportswriting gruel, and nothing more.” But here they are.
If you can’t avoid being ripped by ’em, hire ’em, we guess. It’s a smart move: Quality of content was the site’s biggest problem – now they have five visible people we all know can write. It’s going to make the site better. Of course, the change won’t be immediate – we’re there are plenty of Bleacher Report posts yet to come from the site’s vast contributor network that will make critics roll their eyes, but if nothing else, this is proof the site is serious about getting better. And when a site with a huge audience is striving to allow that huge audience to read better writing, well, who can mock that?