B/R’s Dorth Raphaely: Make yourself invaluable, to the audience and employers

Dorth Raphaely

Dorth Raphaely

Bleacher Report General Manager Dorth Raphaely was a guest on the Copeland Coaching Podcast this week, talking about how to build a career in sports.

Not a coaching career. Angela Copeland is a career coach, and Raphaely talked about his path, from volunteering in the sports information department of Division III UC-Santa Cruz as an undergraduate through CBS Sports Interactive and Yahoo before arriving at B/R in 2011. Oh, and by the way, he was also an assistant women’s basketball coach for the Banana Slugs.

Whether he’s talking about covering sports or getting ahead in your career, Raphaely hits a similar theme: Find ways to do things nobody else is doing, thus making yourself indispensable and irreplaceable.

He describes one of the first stories Bleacher Report made its name on, the NFL draft:

Back in the day, before we came along, people really only did mock drafts at the end of the NFL season because that’s when people knew the order that teams would be drafting. We realized by looking through a lot of data that people were really interested in mock drafts much sooner than the media was creating them. So we kind of recognized this inefficiency in the marketplace. And I think that term and that idea of looking for inefficiencies in the marketplace and serving those inefficiencies is really something that Bleacher Report has prided itself on and is really part of the DNA of our company.

That same ethic can serve an individual.

“We’re looking for people that have specific skill sets and are sort of experts at that,” Raphaely says about the fierce competition for content-creation jobs. “It’s really about having a niche, being really good at it. Are you a feature writer? Are you an investigative writer? Are you a columnist? What is your niche? What’s your expertise?”

At about 36:30, Dorth mentions the Advanced Program in Sports Media, or APSM, Bleacher Report’s paid educational program in digital sportswriting. He mentions that “we travel around to all these different schools” looking for college journalism students ready to graduate and begin their careers. We also target grad students and even early-career pros.

I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the people making those visits. This year we’re hoping to get to more schools by making virtual visit via Skype, Google Hangouts or whatever’s going to be invented for the purpose next week.

Bleacher Report also has a similar program that focuses on copy editing and the many jobs that leverage that skill: The Advanced Program in Editing and Content Management.

Both programs are year-round, with rolling admissions. They’re not tied to the school calendar. They’re 12 weeks, part-time, and participants are paid a stipend. Click the links for more info.

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