Layoffs Hit Longform Journalism at Bleacher Report

Layoffs have hit Bleacher Report today. The area of the web site that is hit the hardest is BR Mag, their longform sports journalism vertical. BR Mag’s deputy editor Elliot Pohnl announced the shuttering on Twitter this afternoon:

A source said that writers Howard Beck and Tyler Dunne were among the cuts. Beck is a well known NBA writer whom Bleacher Report hired away from the New York Times in 2013. Dunne is an NFL feature writer, whose work includes a lengthy story on the rift between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. Both writers declined to comment to Outkick.

The news on Beck’s departure was first reported by Ben Koo at Awful Announcing; he also reported that the writer Yaron Weitzman and Bleacher Report editor-in-chief Ben Osborne are out, and that there were at least 10 cuts.

A source said that Bleacher Report will continue to do some longform journalism on their web site, but that it will be on an “as-needed” basis as opposed to having the BR Mag vertical devoted to it.

Update: Outkick has learned that the writer David Gardner was also amongst the cuts. Gardner also declined to comment.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.

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  1. Hey Ryan,
    I know you know, but I don’t know what the term means, and it’s not what I thought it meant. So if anybody else is interested, here’s a short snippet of an article from Poynter:

    A Kickstarter project run by two journalists raised $50,000 in just 38 hours last week and has raised a total of $87,297 so far. The goal of the project, called “Matter,” is to “publish a single piece of top-tier long-form journalism about big issues in technology and science. That means no cheap reviews, no snarky opinion pieces, no top ten lists. Just one unmissable story.”

    The project raises interesting questions about what constitutes longform journalism. We know that technology has renewed attention to longform journalism in recent years. But it’s also changed how we think about it.

    Do we define longform by the quality of the writing? By the amount of time it took to write? By the research it entailed? Or do we define it by length? The longform journalism site Longreads, for instance, asks people to “post their favorite stories over 1,500 words.”

    These conceptual differences matter, says New York Times science reporter Natalie Angier. When I asked her about the “Matter” Kickstarter project, Angier said she’s been wondering what people mean when they say “longform” journalism. She tends to equate it less with length and more with depth of reporting.

    “Even as the editors have cut back on the column inches they’ll allot to my work (or anybody else’s), I continue to treat every piece I write as though it were an in-depth feature,” Angier said. “I can’t imagine writing about science any other way.”

    A writer or site that continuously produces quality content drives people come back. But given how fast news comes at us these days, and how many choices we have on the Web, quality longform stories can easily get lost.

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