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Feb 10 / Joel Cordes

Internship Insider: Why Bleacher Report writers live in the future

I’m often asked why Bleacher Report so heavily encourages forward-thinking premises while seemingly bypassing recaps and retrospectives.

King Kaufman’s Monday Blog post about B/R’s Super Bowl coverage did a fantastic job summing up how we accomplish that. Now let’s look at why.

It’s not just that recaps have a shelf-life measured by hours, rather than days. It’s not just because basic game recaps are already monopolized by one or two sources.

More importantly, it’s about audience.

Those who didn’t watch the “Big Game” probably passed because they didn’t care. Will they be reading a recap or editorial about something that didn’t interest them?

Even more importantly, those who watched the Super Bowl already know what happened. They don’t need the facts again.

In fact, they’ve already formed their opinions. An article that simply analyzes the game might catch limited attention, but for how long?

Don’t believe me? Well, are YOU still intently thinking about the Super Bowl above every other sports topic out there? (It was just Sunday of this week, but it already feels like ancient history, doesn’t it?)

If you want to write about a particular topic, then bring something new to the table. But how many new things will happen in the past? Your possibilities are quite limited. Chances are, someone has tread wherever you’re about to.

On the other hand, how many possibilities does the future hold? Your chance of finding something new now knows no bounds.

Even Dan Wetzel’s highly lauded article about Tom Brady, which appears to be just a really well-done point by point recap, is actually anchored on a very forward thinking premise:

“Who knows when the opportunity comes again? Brady is 34. Windows always close faster than anyone anticipates. Can he ever get title No. 4? Can he ever get past Eli Manning?”

Every facet of that article leaves the reader wondering what will happen next in this developing saga.

Even “best of” lists and retrospectives must look to the future whenever possible. If Michael Jordan leads my list of “50 All-Time Greatest NBA Players,” it’s also worth pondering who will be added next.

Find a premise that takes a stance on what might happen. Give your audience long enough to consider, support or disagree with it. Then let time prove or destroy your prediction.

Just make sure to stay one step ahead.

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Joel C. Cordes is Bleacher Report’s Sportswriting Internship Program Feedback Editor. Along with fellow editor Greg Pearl, he develops B/R interns by providing feedback and mentoring, the highlights of which are shared with the B/R Blog.

  • Ken Kraetzer

    Good points, it is so important to take what we learn and suggest what it means for the future. For those of us who mostly write about beats, West Point football and Iona basketball in my case, the post game comments are important to capture and present. My best paragraph for B-R is writing up the comments of Army QB Trent Steelman after he did all he could to win the Army-Navy game in December but it was not quite enough.