Wipe Away the Tears, Please: CBSSports, Bleacher Report Got It Right

John BreechCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2009

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 30:  A fan of the Cleveland Browns yells during their NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts on November 30, 2008 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Colts defeated the Browns 10-6.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

If you've been making your away around b/r over the past two months, chances are you've probably heard the combination of the following three words used together a few times: CBSsports, Correspondent, and NFL.

Back in May, b/r announced that they were teaming up with CBSsports to form the NFL Correspondent's network. The plan, in theory, was that CBSsports was going to hire 32 b/r writers to fill these positions.

What actually happened?

CBSsports hired 16 b/r writers and 16 qualified individuals from outside of the b/r network. Of the 16 from b/r, only 14 were able to accept the job due to personal circumstances.

Minutes after the results were announced, people on this site began to cry like a teenage girl who had just seen Titanic for the first time.

People were acting like CBSsports went Tonya Harding on them and ruined their writing future.

One article even states that b/r applicants were burned by CBS.

Here's the bottom line: everyone that's not bitter about losing should be happy right now.  The network that owns the rights to televise AFC football games almost hired you. Your work was looked at by a staff of professional writers.

For anyone that's still fuming about this, let me put this as succinctly as possible: You have absolutely no sense about the current state of journalism/sports journalism in this country.

Let me fill you in quickly.

Newspapers are closing their doors at record rates. This means that the market is being deluged with sports writers that are better than you, better than me, and better than most.

I'm a 27-year-old sports editor for a suburban Atlanta paper. When we put a job posting on an Internet board recently, we had over 100 applications before we even knew what was going on.

I was interviewing guys with way more experience than myself and this was for a job that was only going to pay $475 a week. 

Now what happened here is product of this supply and demand chain. I can almost guarantee you that CBSsports had no idea that so many qualified journalists would be willing to work for $400/week. As we all know, that's just not a lot of money.

Originally, CBS probably said to themselves, "Let's team with b/r, find some fans that write well and will work for $400 and we'll probably get some good publicity in the process."

Now here is where CBS went wrong. The market is saturated with great writers right now. Had CBS known this, I doubt they would have even done this competition and NO ONE at b/r would have gotten a job. CBS obviously realized their mistake and told b/r that they wanted to go a more professional route.

It seems that b/r understood, to an extent.

I believe b/r probably negotiated that half the writers be from b/r and half be professional. In this instance, both companies win. The 16 writers hired from b/r are guys that probably would never had a chance to cover an NFL team in their lives.

The only people that have reason to be mad are the two finalists for each team where a professional was hired. Unless you were a finalist (finalists got an e-mail June 8 and returned a contract that week), you should have no bone to pick.

The crazy thing here is that b/r thought of this, they knew some of their best writers were going to get snubbed (this may explain the delay in the announcement of who won). The b/r brain trust probably said, "Wow, people are going to be pissed that CBS is giving 16 jobs to professionals, how do we rectify this so that we don't alienate some of our best writers?"

What does b/r do? They offer a $500 check to any finalist that was displaced by a professional writer. This means if you were going for the Falcons job and a b/r writer got the position, you don't get a check because you lost fairly. 

If you were going for the Bills job and a CBS guy got the post, then you got a check.

This is all written in an e-mail by b/r CEO Dan Kelly that was sent out by Rory Brown on July 14.

For those of you that think you were at a disadvantage because you didn't apply directly through CBS like the professionals, you're wrong. 

Let me tell you this. CBS would have thrown your resume right out the window if you had no journalism experience, and trust me when I say your college newspaper would not count.

Your masters in English would have meant something if they wanted you to review the next Harry Potter movie, but it wouldn't help you get a beat writing job.

Thanks to b/r, guys with little or no experience at least had a shot at these jobs.

And trust me, this would have been a great job for anyone on this site. As a beat writer, you make invaluable connections and sometimes even better friendships.

The CBSsports winners that do a good job this season will surely be hired for future projects.

Now, it may have been intern pay, but this was not a glorified intern job, that's the reason so many pros applied, it's the real deal. NFL beat writer is one of the hardest jobs in the country to land.

And for anyone that has a complaint because CBS changed the rules; it's their competition, they're signing the paychecks, they can do what they want.

Think about it, if you (the entrant) viewed this as a job application, then you can't be mad that CBS hired the best person available.

If you viewed it as a contest, let me just say that the lottery is a contest too, no successful person has ever planned their life around winning a contest, why? Because there is too much chance involved.

Let me sum this up as nicely as possible: If you're still mad, go change your diaper, wipe away the tears and get on with your life.

(In case you're wondering, b/r did not give me a car, a free hooker, and or a lifetime supply of ShamWows to write this. I applied for the Bengals position, I was a finalist. I am 100 percent content with the way the contest/job application process went.)


One final note, I do disagree with the fact the b/r has deleted a lot of the criticism pertaining to the competition, I read many of them and that's actually what compelled me to write this.