(Photo Credit: Twitter/Wes Goldberg)
I recently got in contact with Wes Goldberg, Editor of AllUCanHeat and writer for Bleacher Report, to discuss the world of sports blogging.
Allana: Could you tell me a little about your current position and how you got there?
Wes: My position boils down to two things: creating the most interesting, thoughtful, forward-looking content for readers and helping others do the same. I do most of the posting but I also manage a team of writers. I got this gig after working briefly on another site in the network as a contributor and when an editor position for the Miami Heat site became available, was offered the opportunity.
A: How do you think blogging has affected the sports media world?
W: In general, blogging has created more stages to disseminate information. Mostly though, it’s impacted the rate at which information is disseminated. In turn, it’s impacted the editing process at newspapers and the way writers write. Go to almost any newspaper website and you will see the beat reporter’s blog that he/she posts the most recent information too. Editors don’t edit the blogs, so beat reporters have even more responsibility to edit their own work. It has resulted in more immediate content for readers, but it’s also resulted in the I-Got-It-First Era of Sports Journalism, which can lead to inaccuracies. What a newspaper published used to be taken as fact, without a doubt. Now, with everyone rushing to be first, we aren’t as sure.
A: Where do you see it going?
W: Blogging is becoming more legitimate. Bloggers are starting to realize that they aren’t beat reporters and readers are starting to understand that too. It’s become an alternative, and a complement, to traditional media. Readers can get their news from beat reporters and shape their opinion after reading various blogs. Blogging will start fusing with traditional media though, as bloggers are increasingly being allowed access and old-school reporters jump ship from papers to large blogs like Bleacher Report and Grantland.
A: What are some of the challenges you face? Favorite things about it?
The biggest challenge is increasing exposure and accumulating loyal readers. Unlike traditional media outlets, All U Can Heat is not an established brand. Therefore, we have an increased responsibility and pressure to make sure everything posted is top-notch. It takes one bad article or misspelled name to turn people away from the site forever. By far, my favorite thing is the ability to be as creative as I want and not answer to a boss. I get to cover my team as I see fit without dealing with red tape of an editor.
A: Is social media part of your job? If so, what role does it play?
W: Social media is a major part of the process. Twitter and Facebook act as the public relations and marketing departments of our site. This is where we advertise our content and interact with our potential audience. Just like advertising, the more the better. Social media helps get our brand in front of people and communicate our message. Not only does social media help our audience find us, it helps us find our audience. It helps us find out what people want to read, what they are talking about and how we can meet those needs.
A: What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a similar career?
W: Write with courage. Be comfortable in your role as someone who presents opinions and analysis and be confident in your own ideas. More importantly, be yourself. The blogosphere has a way of shaping content, don’t be afraid of doing your own thing. The personality of the writer is as important as the information presented by the writer. After everything I write, I ask myself, “would I have a beer with that guy?”
Check out AllUCanHeat and follow Wes on Twitter!