Along with insisting Bleacher Report’s army of unpaid scribblers are subject to some form of editorial oversight, the company’s CEO Brian Grey reveals himself to be a spin-meister of the lowest order, telling Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitch the slug responsible for the above screen grab, “had all the right intentions.” And that’s not even close the dopiest thing he had to say.
SI.com: How much does and should sex play into your content?
Grey: That’s a good question. The Swagger area is one that has evolved extensively even since before I joined. We have a male audience so there is this aspect of sports meets entertainment meets women. Every male site, every sports site, has some angle of it. You have you Hot [Extra] Mustard area. I go back to what is the right balance between that content, and all the other content. You’ll notice that the Swagger content lives in its own section and we are moving to a model where less of it will show up in standard article pages. But it will certainly will have its place in our mix.
SI.com: Old school media types would say there is an exploitative factor in using people to produce cheap content. You are not the only place that does this, but your writers are not paid, right?
Grey: We have evolved to where when we see contributors who perform and become experts in certain topics, that is another opportunity we want to make available, paid opportunities.
SI.com: Let me be direct. Why is this not exploiting a labor market?
Grey: We look at this as an opportunity for a lot of people that have never had a chance to get into where you sit. It is a chance to go on that path. And a lot of people want that. For us a great outcome would be our contributors to be hired by Sports Illustrated or ESPN.com or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We have had a handful of people who have become full-time writers at other outlets. That is something we really embrace and we think we are giving a platform for them to go down that path. But there are a lot of people that just do this because they love the game and love sports. It’s at their discretion. They own their content and they are free to take it and go sell it to someone else.