Seattle Seahawks 36, Green Bay Packers 16. And the NFL is underway. Last week we introduced our college football coverage team. Today, here’s the rundown on the NFL roster.
The onetime NFL defensive back brings inside-the-NFL player perspective to his analysis for Bleacher Report and Team Stream Now.
Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe)
B/R’s video host Adam Lefkoe anchors the Team Stream Now studio.
Stephen Nelson (@Stephen__Nelson)
Just in time for this NFL season, Nelson joins Bleacher Report video team as a Team Stream Now anchor.
Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB)
A former University of Texas and NFL quarterback, Simms is Bleacher Report’s lead NFL video analyst.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys beat reporter will write about the Cowboys regularly for Bleacher Report.
Michael Schottey (@Schottey)
Ty Schalter (@tyschalter)
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writers Michael Schottey and Ty Schalter provide perspective on the biggest games and the biggest news around the league.
AFC North: Andrea Hangst (@FBALL_Andrea)
AFC South: Rivers McCown (@riversmccown)
AFC West: Christopher Hansen (ChrisHansenNFL)
NFC East: Brad Gagnon (@Brad_Gagnon)
NFC North: Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2)
NFC South: Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski)
Cian Fahey (@Cianaf)
Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope)
Nick Kostos (@TheKostos)
Alex Miglio (@AlexMiglio)
Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle)
Dave Siebert (@DaveMSiebert)
Cleveland Browns: Will Burge (@WillBurge)
Denver Broncos: Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey)
Detroit Lions: Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon)
Green Bay Packers: Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq)
Indianapolis Colts: Kyle Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle)
Miami Dolphins: Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy)
Minnesota Vikings: Darren Page (@DarrenPage15)
New England Patriots: James Christensen (@NEPatriotsDraft)
New York Giants: Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina)
New York Jets: Ryan Alfieri (@Ryan_Alfieri)
Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Kulp (@KulpSays)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Curt Popejoy (@NFLdraftboard)
San Francisco 49ers: Peter Panacy (@PeterMcShots)
Washington: James Dudko
Atlanta Falcons: Scott Carasik (@ScottCarasik)
Baltimore Ravens: Jason Marcum
Buffalo Bills: Brandon Croce (@BrandonCroce)
Carolina Panthers: Charles Edwards (@CEdwards80)
Chicago Bears: Matt Eurich (@MattEurich)
Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling)
Cleveland Browns: Andy McNamara (@AndyMc81)
Dallas Cowboys: John Owning (@johnowning)
Denver Broncos: Travis Wakeman (@twf2000)
Detroit Lions: Brandon Alisoglu (@BrandonAlisoglu)
Green Bay Packers: Jason Hirschorn (@jbhirschhorn)
Houston Texans: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
Indianapolis Colts: Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke)
Jacksonville Jaguars: Bo Martin (@BoKnowsBCB)
Kansas City Chiefs: Farzin Vousoughian (@Farzin21)
Miami Dolphins: Thomas Galicia (@thomasgalicia)
Minnesota Vikings: Bill Hubbell (@billyhubbell)
New England Patriots: Sterling Xie (@SterlingXie)
New Orleans Saints: Zane Brown
New York Giants: Kevin Boilard (@KevinBoilard)
New York Jets: Aidan Mackie
Oakland Raiders: Brian Flores (@BrianJ_Flores)
Philadelphia Eagles: Cody Swartz (@cbswartz5)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Batista (@Steel_Tweets)
San Diego Chargers: Marcelo Villa (@_marcelovilla)
Seattle Seahawks: Marlon Maloney (@marlonmaloney)
St. Louis Rams: Steven Gerwel (@Steve_Ger)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Luke Easterling (@LukeEasterling)
Tennessee Titans: Daniel Barnes
Washington: Marcel Davis (@Mar_CelDavis24)
Giancarlo King (@GiancarloKing)
Kristopher Knox (@Kris_Knox)
Eric Simons, author of “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession,” has a piece in the Columbia Journalism Review with the headline “What science can tell sportswriters about why we love sports.”
I found what he has to say about why we love sports only mildly interesting, but what he has to say about how sportswriters talk about that subject quite compelling. Just in case your interests differ from mine, Simons writes that psychologists have settled on eight motivations for why people love sports:
Some of them are more common, but none is any more significant than any of the others. People like sports because they get self-esteem benefits from it. People like sports because they have money on it. People like sports because their boyfriend or girlfriend or family member likes sports. People like sports because it’s exciting. People like sports because it’s aesthetically pleasing. People like sports because, like the theater, it is a venue for emotional expression. People like sports because they need an escape from real-world troubles. People like sports because it provides a sense of belonging, a connection to a wider world.
Simon’s main point, though, is that sports fans love sports for all kinds of complicated reasons that have more to do with the individuals than with the sports themselves.
“The science also says that sports speak a different truth to each observer,” Simons writes. “Assigning them a collective narrative, like assigning a collective narrative to a billion soccer fans, obscures rather than defines the nature of their passion.”
And yet, we do that all the time. Simons opens his piece with a litany of examples, links to pieces from the 2014 World Cup in which writers had summed up the personality of entire nations as though they were all of one single, sports-loving mind. Spaniards in mourning over their elimination, Argentines finding joy in their team.
The takeaway of stories becomes, unsurprisingly: Sports exercises a lot of power over some people.
But how? And how much power? And which people? These narratives of fans, identity, and meaning underlie some testable hypothesis about how sports affect people but offer little in the way of empirical backing. Perhaps that’s because numbers would challenge the hypotheses.
It sounds to me like what science can tell sportswriters about why we love sports is: There’s such a thing as science. Quit faking it.
What’s the difference between “clickbait” and serving the readers by giving them what they want?
Christin, after studying several newsrooms to try to learn how they’d been changed by the web, concluded that “all media sites now rely on web analytics to make editorial decisions. But this does not mean that they all use and interpret metrics in similar ways.” She also pointed out that journalists often say one thing about numbers and do another:
There is often a gap between what journalist say about metrics and what they do. Many writers express cynical views about traffic and say that they do not care about page views. Yet they almost always check whether they are in the “top ten” most read articles list.
Christin quotes a former New York Times writer named Richard Darnton, who says that in the ’60s, writers at the paper pretty much wrote for each other. Articles were assigned because editors wanted to see them. Little thought was given to the audience, other than to consider what they should want to read. Christin even points out that letters to the editor often went unread.
Compare that to what Will Leitch, then still at Deadspin, which he founded, said five years ago about why he didn’t apply for credentials at sporting events or write from the press box: “The minute I start doing that, I start writing for the other people in the press box.”
Was serving fellow writers and editors better than serving readers? The shorthand for the dangers of giving people what they want is Kim Kardashian, as in: If you give the people what they want, all you’ll ever do is write stories about Kim Kardashian. When I first started working online, in 1996, and we could first see exactly how many people were reading each story, the shorthand was Pam Anderson. Same point.
Yet somehow, two decades later, we have an awful lot of articles about Kim Kardashian, sure, but also quite a few that aren’t about Kim Kardashian. More than ever. As Ingram put it:
Has this transformation resulted in more clickbait and pandering? Undoubtedly it has. But it has also arguably resulted in more content that readers actually want to read, as opposed to producing reams of newspaper articles that no one ever makes it to the end of, just because some random editor thought it was important. And that’s probably a good thing.
“Clickbait” is a slippery term. Maybe we just all know it when we see it. But every use of analytics doesn’t lead to clickbait, and giving people what they want doesn’t have to either. Because one thing any set of analytics worth its salt will tell you the people want is: not clickbait.
The channel went live at 7 a.m. EDT this morning. Here’s the schedule every weekday, all times Eastern:
Hey, wait. Who’s that guy at the bottom there?
That’s right: I’ll be hosting a show called “Content Is King,” where I’ll talk sports and sports media with my guests, including but not limited to Bleacher Report writers. The Opening Night guests are pitcher turned author, broadcaster and B/R writer Dirk Hayhurst, Sports Illustrated media columnist Richard Deitsch and B/R world football FC Garry Hayes, who’ll go over the landscape with us now that the transfer window is closed.
My plan is to post notes from each show, with any links and information that seem relevant, plus the guest schedule for the next episode, on this blog. That will be in addition to the regular morning post. I’d love to hear what you think of any of the shows. You can sign up for a free SiriusXM trial here, but unfortunately Bleacher Report Radio isn’t included.
See you on the radio!
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. I keep putting it off …
I’m a procrastinator, which you might think wouldn’t mix with a deadline-driven business, but deadlines are life-savers for those of us who like to put things off. If not for deadlines, I’d still be trying to convince myself that I’ll get to that third-grade spelling homework any minute now.
And another day would go by without me getting to it. As Elizabeth Grace Saunders writes in a post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Saving Work for Tomorrow Doesn’t Work.
Saunders, a time coach and author, writes:
As an expert in effective time investment, I’ve seen too many individuals procrastinate at work because they think, “I’ll get a lot done later.” Unfortunately, banking on future time rarely aligns with productive results. This mindset leads to unconscious self-sabotage because individuals are not taking advantage of the opportunity to get tasks done right now, and when later comes, they find themselves feeling guilty, burned out, and frustrated. They fall back on their habits to put work off, and it doesn’t get accomplished.
Saunders cites a research study that found a pattern of overoptimism among people given a choice between healthy food or a cookie. If they thought they were going to have a chance to make the same choice again later, they were more likely to take the cookie and say they’d take the healthy choice next time. And then they mostly didn’t.
If you’re the type who promises yourself you’ll get something important done later, Saunders suggests eliminating that possibility. If you schedule something for yourself later, you’ll know you won’t be able to put that work off, so you do it. Another suggestion: Reduce the variability in your schedule. The more flexible your schedule, the easier it is to tell yourself you’ll get to that important task later.
“Choosing to work the same amount each day with little variation on your schedule takes away the mental loophole that allows you to escape from getting things done now,” Saunders writes.
Our friend Roy Peter Clark at Poynter offers a piece of similar advice: Want to avoid procrastination? Impose an early deadline on yourself. If your deadline is 6 p.m., tell yourself your deadline is 4 p.m. If it’s Friday, tell yourself it’s Thursday. If it’s Christmas, tell yourself it’s Thanksgiving. Long deadlines can be killers for procrastinators. Shortening them helps.
Clark says this way of thinking had him turning in a book manuscript almost six months ahead of deadline. I can’t even imagine that. I’ll think about it tomorrow.
Hat tip to the American Press Institute for both links.
You may have heard the announcement yesterday: Bleacher Report is launching a new SiriusXM radio channel next week.
The channel will go on the air at 7 a.m. Eastern time with Dan Levy and Josh Zerkle hosting a three-hour show. Nicole Zaloumis will be on from 10 to 1, Will Carroll and Jason Goff will take it from 3 to 6 p.m., and yours truly will close out the day with a one-hour show at 6 p.m. Eastern.
That show will be called “Content Is King,” and will focus on not just sports but also sports media—which after all is the process through which most sports fans consume most sports. Bleacher Report Featured Columnists will be a big part of the show, though we’ll also have guests from beyond B/R.
We’ve been doing some practice runs, preseason games, as it were, during Bleacher Report’s existing three-hour show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sirius Channel 92. On Wednesday I welcomed Bleacher Report NFL Featured Columnist Ryan Riddle, FoxSports.com writer Erik Malinowski and Grantland baseball writer Jonah Keri.
I’ll be on the air again Thursday at 1 p.m. EDT. My guests will be Bleacher Report FCs Samuel Chi and Adam Fromal, along with Ryan Spaeder, the man behind the Twitter feed Ace of MLB Stats, which has built a following of more than 15,000 by tweeting out statistical factoids gleaned from the Baseball-Reference Play Index. I’m betting Ryan has learned a thing or two about effective use of social media.
On Tuesday, the On Air light goes on in earnest. Scheduled for the debut of “Content Is King”: Author, B/R baseball columnist and former pitcher Dirk Hayhurst and Sports Illustrated media columnist Richard Deitsch.
Here’s a great story by Spanish football—that is, fútbol—reporter and pundit Guillem Balagué about the business of reporting on the transfer window.
“There’s something quite bizarre about people casting judgement on your professionalism by way of transfer stories you may or may not uncover,” Balagué writes in a piece published by Bleacher Report. “What it suggests is a lack of knowledge of how it all works, which is normal. Why would a regular pundit know how journalism works?”
And then he set out to explain how journalism works, at least on his beat:
Step One: You gain the trust of people—in my case, through 23 years working at the coal face.
Step Two: You learn to differentiate between fact and fiction—between what you need to know and what people want to tell you because it is in their own interests. People may try to take you in the direction they want to and very often it can be a cul-de-sac. The key there is to check, check again, and when you’re absolutely sure, check again.
Step Three: Learn that whatever you think you can do, it is simply impossible to concentrate on the whole market. Learn to concentrate on those things that are most interesting to you.
Step Four: Never tell anyone more than 10 percent of what you actually know. Then when things start to move, get your running shoes on because, believe me, when they do start to move, they move lightning-fast.
There’s a lot more to it. Pay attention to Balagué when he says that the most important part of the job is developing and maintaining relationships. And the key to that? People have to trust you.
With college football season about to kick off, Bleacher Report’s been putting together a powerful roster of writers and video analysts. If there were such a thing as a college football playoff system for digital media, this group would be … ineligible, because they get paid. Right out in the open.
Here’s the team:
Barrett Sallee (Twitter)
B/R’s SEC Lead Writer covers college football’s dominant conference, with columns, features and regular appearances in TeamStream Now videos. He is a regular on local, regional and national radio programs around the country, and has appeared on CNN, HLN, CSS and Al Jazeera America.
Adam Kramer (Twitter)
Kramer, the National College Football Lead Writer, tracks the most compelling storylines of the sport with columns and features. The founder of the popular blog Kegs ‘n Eggs, Kramer also appears regularly on Team Stream Now.
Jason King (Twitter)
Already familiar to B/R readers for his college basketball coverage at ESPN and Bleacher Report, King turns his talents to the college football with enterprising profiles and features. King has also written for Yahoo Sports and the Kansas City Star, and is the author of two books.
Greg Couch (Twitter)
Couch, a FoxSports.com and former Chicago Sun-Times scribe, will write a weekly column.
Ted Robinson (Twitter)
The longtime national broadcaster (NBC, Pac-12 Network) and radio voice of the San Francisco 49ers joins Bleacher Report for a weekly column on Pac-12 football.
Lars Anderson (Twitter)
Anderson, a former Sports Illustrated senior staff writer, contributes monthly features to Bleacher Report. Based in Alabama, he is the author of the new book “The Storm and The Tide,” about Alabama football and the 2011 tornado catastrophe in Tuscaloosa. He contributes monthly features to Bleacher Report.
That group’s coverage is complemented by a talented roster of Featured Columnists.
I really liked this advice from P.R. consultant Kellye Crane on Muck Rack Daily: Run your communications career like a freelance consultant.
Now before you run away screaming that you’re not in P.R., listen to what Crane says after noting that Muck Rack caters to both P.R. people and journalists:
Pros in both groups would be wise to keep their options open for the most opportunities. The day may come when you decide to take the leap and become a freelance consultant [or freelance journalist —KK], or you may need to jump to a new job quickly, so the time to start planning is now.
In other words, good freelancers are always selling themselves. And in today’s media job market, even the “traditionally employed,” in Crane’s words, are not that different. “The typical worker stays at a job for less than five years,” she writes. If that’s true, the typical worker is never far from having to crank up the self-selling machinery. And of course some “typical workers” are also freelancers on the side.
So, whatever your situation, it pays to keep that machinery humming. Here’s Crane’s advice on how to do that. Read her piece for details on each:
1. Network, network, network.
2. Seek diverse experiences. The better to develop diverse skills.
3. Be known for excellence. This one sounds a lot like “Always do good work,” doesn’t it?
4. Pursue big name clients and/or high profile assignments.
5. Financial responsibility. This last one is tough if you’re getting typically low journalist’s pay. But Crane’s point is that, to whatever extent you can, be fiscally responsible. Keep yourself out of debt and try to have a little reserve, so that you’re able to take advantage of risky opportunities if they seem worthwhile.
Dog bites man: Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark has some more good writing advice.
Try this exercise: Go back and find a story you wrote three months or three years ago. The older the piece, the “colder” it will feel to you, enabling you to read it more objectively. Ask yourself these questions: What pleases me? What would I now change? How would I describe the voice of this writer? What important lessons about writing have I learned since?
That’s a spoiler. It’s a tag at the end of this piece, in which Clark goes back and reads a profile he wrote of Lauren Bacall in 1979 for the St. Petersburg Times, which is now called the Tampa Bay Times.
Clark’s point is that if you go back and read your old stories, you’re probably going to cringe at some things, or at least notice a few things you might have done differently. What that means is that you must have learned something since you wrote that story. You’re getting smarter, better.
It’s a confidence boost, Clark says:
I know there are writers who never read their old stories. The reluctance, I believe, stems from the impostor syndrome, that all of their insufficiencies and fallibilities will surface in the re-reading. They will look at their old stories the way I look at videos of my golf swing and opine, “Man, I really do suck.”
When I go back to look at an old story, my response is usually different. I may cringe at this phrase or wish I had revised that, but my overwhelming impression goes something like this: “Hmm. This stuff is pretty good. The kid can write.”
The advice is similar to a tip I once heard when I was advising Student Life, the student newspapaer at Washington University at St. Louis. I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly who offered it, but he was an alum of the paper who had become a successful writer for a prominent newspaper. A student journalist had asked him how he dealt with writer’s block, or maybe just self-doubt. I’ll just have to quote him as best as I can from memory, but I’m positive I’m conveying his meaning correctly:
“Go back and read your own stuff,” he said. “Remind yourself that you’re pretty good. You can do this.”