Who, What, and How: The Skinny on B/R FCs
The Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Program empowers a squad of hand-picked writers to entertain the Web's widest audience of fans with team- and topic-specific content—and to accelerate their own careers in an evolving new-media marketplace.
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In return for the many privileges they enjoy, FCs agree to fulfill a series of fundamental responsibilities as representatives of the entire B/R community.
Good things come early and often to Featured Columnists. As a start, every new team member gains the instant benefit of…
B/R's veteran assignment editors work 1-on-1 with FCs to target audiences, develop story ideas and generate crowd-pleasing content.
From permanent column space on the B/R content hubs of the teams and sports they cover to preferred placement in newsletters, partner feeds, and the lead story rotator on B/R's front page, FCs have every opportunity to reach millions of fans with each article they publish.
Ever notice those credibility-enhancing "Featured Columnist" icons in article bylines and on B/R Profile pages? Well…so has everyone else.
In addition to these up-front perks, consistently high-achieving FCs are also eligible for…
Whenever B/R scores press passes or interview opportunities, first dibs always go to FCs who've proven their skills in covering the relevant team or sport.
With a nationwide network of TV and radio affiliates and its own in-house video production team, B/R is uniquely positioned to help FCs beam their faces and voices to the world.
Standout FCs routinely get paid for their work in covering the biggest events on the sports calendar. Even better, the best of the best earn their livings as full-time B/R staff writers.
As a whole, the FC Program's incentive system is designed to reward talent, professionalism, and creativity, with the ultimate goal of spotlighting and celebrating those authors who make the best use of the myriad opportunities offered by B/R.Back to index »
All active Featured Columnists are subject to regular performance reviews by B/R administrators. In order to retain their FC status, writers must commit themselves to…
To keep their readers satisfied, FCs are required to publish 2-3 weekly articles about the teams or sports they've chosen to cover.
The FC Program has long been home to compelling and conscientious authors—and current members can most meaningfully honor their predecessors by submitting insightful and error-free copy on a day-in, day-out basis.
The best way to build rapport with readers is by talking to them. In that sense, it should be self-evident that FCs are expected to respond throughly and thoughtfully to the various comments they receive on their articles.
As a supplement to these quantitative metrics, FCs are also evaluated on the basis of…
All else being equal, the best FCs are those who demonstrate the most passion, reliability, and willingness to learn in their work with B/R assignment editors.
It's not easy to retain a loyal audience by establishing a unique authorial style—but FCs are FCs because they do the hard stuff better than anyone else.
Far too many online sportswriters resort to vitriol and CAPITAL LETTERS in countering their critics. FCs, on the other hand, are asked to engage in dignified lowercase dialogue with even their most boorish detractors.
In general, the vast majority of Featured Columnists pass their tests with flying colors—and, more importantly, every member of the FC Program can be sure that his or her colleagues will always be held to the same high standards that first made B/R a premier platform for online sportswriters.Back to index »
I. Program Basics
Which teams and sports do Featured Columnists cover?
Just about all of them—and we're always looking to expand. If you can prove your ability to engage readers by writing about a neglected topic, we'll be ready to make a new spot for you on the team.
Who's eligible to join the Featured Columnist Program?
All writers with at least eight published B/R articles are eligible to be considered for FC positions. In rare cases, established writers with fewer than eight B/R articles in their portfolios may be invited to join the program.
I meet the program's eligibility requirements and I want in. What should I do?
Eligible writers may nominate themselves for FC positions by completing the program's online application form. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so there's never a bad time to throw your hat in the ring.
II. The Application Process
How fierce is the competition for Featured Columnist positions?
In a word: very. Only a tiny fraction of B/R writers earn spots on the FC Team, which means you'll want to polish your résumé before you nominate yourself for consideration.
What can I do to maximize my chances of acceptance before I submit my application?
All else being equal, program administrators give weighted preference to candidates who've worked their way through B/R's Writer Rankings system, so you can start by building an expansive portfolio of insightful and entertaining articles. More specifically, you can also complete the "B/R U" new media training curriculum, which teaches students all the skills they need to engage and retain online audiences.
My first FC application was rejected. Am I allowed to reapply?
Yes—all rejected candidates may reapply after a month-long waiting period. But…the program's admissions standards will be just as rigorous the next time around, so you shouldn't jump in again until you've made an earnest effort to hone your craft as a sportswriter.
III. Life as an FC
How will I receive assignment instructions and feedback during my FC career?
Every FC works closely with one of B/R's professional in-house assignment editors. From feeding you weekly story topics to critiquing your submitted articles, your personal guru will provide invaluable support as you take your career to the next level.
If I accept an FC position to cover a specific beat, can I still write about other teams and sports?
Yes—all FCs are invited to publish at will in supplementing their weekly assignment work. So long as you maintain your typical standard of excellence, we'll welcome all the additional content you choose to share with us.
I want to make a living as an online sportswriter. Can the FC Program set me on a track to paid employment?
Absolutely. B/R regularly invites consistently high-achieving Featured Columnists to join its team of paid staff writers—and while the hiring process is exceptionally selective, there's no reason you can't distinguish yourself over the long run.
No less importantly, countless FCs have used their B/R careers as steppingstones to paid jobs with media organizations all over the world, so at least you can be sure that every assignment you complete will bring you that much closer to bigger and better things.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the FC Program?
All specific inquiries about the Featured Columnist Program can be directed to Casey Crowe, B/R Featured Columnist Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to index »
Got what it takes to be an FC?
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Writer Education Resources
Questions about the FC Program?
Contact Casey Crowe, B/R Featured Columnist Coordinator: