Currently Unedited: B/r Writers Need to Transform, Pitch In

PJ EdelmanCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2008

Hi Bleacher Report!

My name is PJ Edelman.  I am a recent graduate of Washington University in St Louis, and today is an important day.  Today I celebrate a few things. 

I joined Bleacher Report exactly one month ago today, and let me say, it has been everything and more that I could have possible have hoped for.  B/r allows me to combine my passions for writing and sports, without quelling my creativity.  I am able to follow more sports than I ever imagined exist.  I especially get to read up on the New York Rangers, Mets, and Giants--my babies. 

I also have the privilege of reading articles written by people from all over the country, of all ages.  There are bunches of high-schoolers hoping to crack into the writing world, or just wishing to spend time on an informative website.  There are polished writers who treat B/r fans with well-written and thought-out provocative pieces.  There are married men and women who want nothing more than to get the dirt on their favorite NASCAR driver.  For all this, I thank B/r.

I also celebrate a minor but important milestone for me.  Today, I had two articles featured --one on the Mets, one on the New York Rangers--at the same time.  The Mets one lasted for a short-lived three hours, and the Rangers one had just come into existence, at the time, for twenty-five minutes.  But the time that overlapped, well, it was just glorious.  I am proud to be a contributing writer and editor to Bleacher Report--which brings me to the main point of this article.

The most fascinating thing about B/r, in my opinion, is that anyone can edit anyone's article.  When I first learned this, I hesitated; I didn't want inept editors changing all my hard work into a "bowl full of mush" (to quote my all-time favorite literary line).  But I quickly realized that the communal editing model is a very bright one.  The model increases readership by allowing other writers to have the option of editing and polishing another's article, to maximize that article's potential.  

As B/r writers, we are blessed with the opportunity to have our articles read by others that may have more experience with words, sentences, and stories.  Myself, I am in deep gratitude to my two favorite editors, Jay Middleton and Sergei Miledin, who have revised numerous articles and offered only words of encouragement .  But this is not enough.

I count on Jay and Sergei, among others, to review my writing, to make sure, essentially, that I don't sound like a dumbass.  I caught major flack earlier this month for not fact-checking an article, and it was well-deserved.  My writing reflects other writers on B/r, and my incorrect information was quickly pointed out to me.  Without the watchdogs and editors, B/r would be just another lame blog spot.

But it isn't, and it should never be.  This means that more editing must take place.  There are always articles that slip through the cracks, especially those that never make it to the front page of a given section.  Writers must step up, and search through other writers' articles, and review articles that have not been edited.  Not only do the unedited articles reflect poorly on B/r, but it prevents the writer from learning from his or her mistakes.

Editing is no easy process.  Some feel unwilling or ill-equipped to edit another writer's article.  That's ok.  Not everyone feels comfortable molding a creation in a different way than the creator had in mind. 

But for the many that are at home with language, don't let a chance to edit an article slip away.  Make sure that the edits are legitimate, and that they increase the readability of the article.  

And take on the big writers, the ones who have their names so proudly displayed in the middle of the page.  They may have well-deserved reputations, interesting insights, and linguistic flexibility, but they are in no way immune to the revision process.  They need the editing to reach the zenith of their abilities.  

So get out there, read a new or old article, and establish a rapport with a writer.  Serve as their guiding hand.  Fix a mistake.  And when the day comes, celebrate when that new writer edits your article--the one you thought didn't need it.

I have to run--but if someone could take a look at this, I'd be really appreciative.


PJ Edelman