A Bleacher Report Farewell

Alan BassSenior Writer ISeptember 30, 2009


I have been writing for Bleacher Report for a year-and-a-half now, with over 415 articles written, 230,000 article reads and more stats that I can spew out, like I’ve been doing ever since I started writing.

I’ve had my share of popular articles and hardcore controversy. I’ve had articles that have seemed to kill my reputation and others that have unfairly bolstered it. But overall, I’ve had a pretty good time here on Bleacher Report.

There have been people that have attempted to drive me off of Bleacher Report with nasty comments; there have been some that have tried to keep me on here with encouraging words. There are writers who I have had hundreds of (civilized) arguments over sports with and others who seem to run their mouths like they’re a multi-million dollar receiver for the Bills.

But nonetheless, after many months of deliberating in my head and with other Bleacher Creatures, I have decided to bid farewell to Bleacher Report.

I do this for a number of reasons. The weak, wussy reason is as follows: with my prior commitments to Pro Hockey News, Inside Hockey and most importantly The Hockey News magazine, I have very little time, in addition to that thing called “school,” which is (supposed to be) my priority.

Okay, I kid, school is the priority.

But the true reason is my firm belief that Bleacher Report is slowly heading down the tube; and being part of the “movement” that helped it to become as popular as it was in its prime, I want no part of the collapse of this “Open Source Sports Network.”

When I joined in April 2008, Bleacher Report was a small, but promising site. Like most people, I found it off a Facebook ad and after writing for a couple weeks, I realized how much I loved it.

The site quickly became huge, with phenomenal writers like Lisa Horne, Babytate, Bryan Thiel and hundreds of others. These writers reinforced my belief that writing was the greatest thing in the world.

However, it quickly became infested with people who seem to not know the difference between a blue line and a clothes line; an end zone and a parking zone; a basketball net and a fishing net…okay, you get the point.

Finally, the tipping point for me was this excerpt I read from a member of the Bleacher Report front office in an email exchange this summer, regarding the downhill trend of the site:

“It's the nature of the beast. The bigger we get, the tougher it will be to have a personal touch between management and each individual writer…that's where our focus lies: gaining more partnerships…and more visibility.”

I know it was not meant in this way, but the way it sounds is exactly what many, including myself, feel about this website; the founders of the site who were once so intent on making sure their customers were happy, are now concentrating more on making quick, easy money than keeping their audience’s attention.

Now I’m not stupid, I know that people need to make money and want to make a lot of it; I’m one of those people.

But the phrase “the customer’s always right” is true in this situation. No one is paying to write for Bleacher Report, true. But whether we’re paying or not, if no one is writing for the site, Bleacher Report does not make money. This will happen within a year, I promise. People will leave the site, seeing what both I and Chris Difrancesco see in it.

I do owe a great deal of gratitude to Bleacher Report. Without them, I would not have a gig with the top-selling hockey publication in the world and I would not even begin to imagine the opportunities currently staring me in the face in the hockey world.

But I leave them with a sour taste in my mouth—a taste that says, “we really couldn’t care less about what you do.” As a Community Leader, I feel disrespected, hurt and that we should be treated better than that.

So in my “resignation” from Bleacher Report, I leave a void in the Philadelphia Flyers community, one that I suggest to be filled by Tom Dougherty. As for the void in the NHL Community Leadership, I suggest the site does not make a replacement; three CLs is more than enough.

I received a wonderful note from an editor recently; one that I hope sums up my writing for the site:

“This was really a great read - by far the best article I've edited today. A real pleasure for me, even though (like most of the country) I don't watch hockey. Your piece was concise but still included good analysis and statistics to back up your ideas.”

This editor received the point I was hoping to drive to my readers; hockey is a sport. It is alive and thriving, though not as much as we hope. My goal in writing about hockey is to create more fans and in that sense, I believe I have succeeded. If just one person has gone from a “what is hockey” person to an “I watch all 82 games” person, then my year-plus on this site has been far from failure.

I have many people to thank for my writing career, which is far from over (I will still be writing for The Hockey News and other hockey outlets). First and foremost, I want to thank Ken Armer and Bryan Thiel, the two NHL CLs when I joined the site. Ken and BT recognized the potential in my writing and strove to pull the talent out of me. Thanks also to Derek Harmsworth, my other co-CL and other members of the NHL community that I “grew up” with.

I want to thank Chris Difrancesco, my great friend, of whom I met accidentally my first time in the Flyers press box. You have made me a better writer, whether you realize it or not and you give me something to strive towards (since you have a paying job and I don’t).

Kevin Greenstein of InsideHockey.com and Brian Jennings and Lou Lafrado of ProHockeyNews.com also deserve my thanks, as they allowed me to write for their site and continue to give me the opportunity.

Lastly, I want to thank Jason Kay, editor-in-chief of The Hockey News and all of my fellow peers at THN. I’ve learned more in my time working for you guys than I have the other 18 years of my life. You made me realize that work can be fun and you taught me volumes about the hockey world, the writing world and more. My entire career, however it turns out, is in debt to you all.

I would also like to thank my 219 fans on Bleacher Report and thousands of others who have continued to read my articles. My writing would be nothing without your support. I implore you to continue reading my work on my other websites.

To everyone else, please feel free to email me at BergHockey24@gmail.com, as I will not be returning to the site to answer comments like I normally do. Also, check out the new site I am writing for, www.Hockey54.com, “The Face of the Game™.”

Best of luck to everyone in their future endeavors, whether writing or non-writing. I look forward to seeing you all in the future.


Alan Bass

Special Features Writer

The Hockey News


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