Almost Famous: My Take on CBS' NFL Correspondent Search

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IJuly 15, 2009

14 Bleacher Report Writers Hired by CBS Sports to Cover the NFL

After a long 69 days, white smoke could finally be seen above CBS Sports headquarters.

CBS Sports had finally made their decisions for the 32 open NFL Correspondent positions.

The "contest," which was scheduled to be wrapped up by June 30, went an additional 14 days due to the excessive number of applicants. In the end, 14 Bleacher Report writers were selected to cover NFL teams for CBS Sports.

That number may seem low to some, but the reality is that CBS was looking for correspondents, not just writers. Bleacher Report has many writers and "columnists," but how many of those can perform a beat writer job? It takes a completely different skill set and mindset.

Let me say that B/R put their best foot forward during this search and went to bat for many of the candidates they felt were deserving. They reciprocated the loyalty that many writers have shown to them over time. 

If any writer that feels slighted has an issue with the selection process or its outcome, the party that should be approached is CBS, not B/R.

CBS was the one holding the cards; B/R was just dealing them.

They had very little hand in the process after they made their recommendations. You must not hold them accountable for any wrongdoings you may feel transpired over the past two-and-a-half months.

The only issue I have with B/R is the fact that the names of the winners and the finalists have not been announced. I know that will happen in the coming days, but in order to add closure to this so we can all move on, I hope they do this sooner rather than later.

For those of you who feel you have been wronged, you need to look past this. In the beginning, I felt a bit uneasy about the way things were going, but after I thought it through, I came to the realization that I may not be the best candidate for the position I applied for after all. It probably went to a young, hungry turk looking for a break. I can live with that.

These jobs are reporting jobs, not really writing jobs.

They are granular, tedious, and time-consuming—and many times, not very rewarding. Most B/R writers would have hated themselves for taking these jobs had they gotten them. Like I said, it takes a different skill set to do this job, and not many have the chops for it.

For instance, CBS doesn't really care about your opinion or your writing style. Your job is to convey the breaking news to them in legible form on your BlackBerry so they can reformat it for public consumption. That's what beat reporters and editors do.

They don't care if you think Tom Brady is better than the Manning brothers. Just tell us who he's throwing to in practice, if he's wearing a brace on his knee, and what he said afterwards.

You've been relegated to reporting facts, so your personality has to stay in your back pocket.

After being a VP in a Fortune 500 company for years, did I really want to go back to the wheel as a beat reporter? At 48, I would think my boot-licking days are behind me. But I threw my hat in the ring, and I know that CBS took a long look at that hat.

Frankly, I'm a bit relieved that they passed on me. The job pays $400 per week. I used to make $500 a day. Plus, my strength is as a columnist, not a stringer.  I can write about the Giants for the next six months without the heavy hand of CBS on my shoulder, plus work part-time as a consultant (making more than $400, I assure you that).

So I will chalk this competition up as another blessing in my life. I appreciate the B/R brass for recommending me and CBS for considering me. I can now continue to contribute my inane rhetoric to B/R and other sites with impunity.

Thanks for reading, and congratulations to all the applicants who were considered and selected. I urge you all to resume the pursuit of your writing careers and to continue to do so by posting on B/R.

For those that really wanted to be a beat reporter and were not chosen, hang in there. Your time is coming. Your stuff got read by pros; you should find some solace in that.

I propose we expand on Leroy Watson's idea of a mentoring program. Everyone has plenty of room to improve as a writer. The learning process never ends.

So the next time an opportunity comes around, you'll be more prepared. My motto is, "Never give up. If you do, then the bad guys win."