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Bleacher Report adds Howard Beck; expected to go after more writers with big-money offers

A few weeks ago, I heard the Bleacher Report was making some big money offers to several established writers at newspapers. The site is looking to expand its roster, I was told.

Sure enough, it happened again Wednesday.

Bleacher Report announced the hiring of Howard Beck, now formerly of the New York Times, as its lead NBA writer. Ethan Skolnick (Palm Beach Post) was brought in to cover the Miami Heat; Kevin Ding (Orange County Register) will report on the Lakers; and Jared Zwerling will write NBA features.

The latest additions come on the heels of Bleacher Report hiring Mike Freeman from CBSSports.com as a columnist. And there will be more. From what I have been told, the site will be bringing in some well-known NFL reporters.

In a statement, Joe Yanarella, editor-in-chief of Bleacher Report said: “The addition of these journalists is a game changer for our coverage of the NBA as we deepen our commitment to enhancing our content offerings and continue to build our roster of talented contributors at Bleacher Report.”

“Game-changer” is the key phrase there. With Turner purchasing the site earlier this year, Bleacher Report clearly wants to become more of a player with branded sports content. It also makes sense to bulk up on the NBA, given Turner’s association with basketball.

I thought Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead said it best with this opening line:

The state of the media in 2013: Howard Beck, one of the best NBA writers in newspapers, has left the New York Times for … Bleacher Report.

Indeed, I’m sure yesterday was a good day for Howard Beck’s bank account.

More to come. Here’s the official release.

*******

Bleacher Report, a leading digital destination for team-specific sports content and real-time event coverage, has hired four veteran sports journalists to anchor its NBA coverage. Howard Beck, Kevin Ding, Ethan Skolnick and Jared Zwerling will join Bleacher Report’s editorial team beginning this month, in anticipation of the tip off to the 2013-2014 NBA regular season. The new additions build on the company’s commitment to bolstering its real-time, comprehensive coverage of teams and topics including breaking news surrounding the league.

Howard Beck, a long-time NBA writer for the New York Times, joins Bleacher Report as its National NBA Lead Writer, providing in-depth commentaries on the league’s biggest topics, along with breaking news stories. A well-respected industry veteran, Beck has covered the NBA and New York Knicks for the New York Times since 2004, adding the Brooklyn Nets last season.  He brings more than two decades of sports-writing experience to the role, as well as several Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) writing awards. In addition to his editorial contributions, Beck will also contribute to Bleacher Report’s NBA video franchises.  Beck will continue to be based in New York.

Kevin Ding joins Bleacher Report as the Lead Writer covering the Los Angeles Lakers. He will be a primary source of Lakers news and information throughout the year, providing regular columns as well as video commentary. An award-winning journalist recognized by the Pro Basketball Writers Association, Ding joins Bleacher Report from the Orange County Register where he has been the newspaper’s Los Angeles Lakers beat writer since 1999.  Ding will continue to be based in the Los Angeles area.

Ethan Skolnick joins Bleacher Report’s editorial team as the Miami Heat Lead Writer where he will provide comprehensive news and analysis about the team, as well as national stories throughout the league. Skolnick’s
17-plus years as a sports journalist include prominent positions at the Palm Beach Post (covering the Heat), the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Skolnick will continue to reside in South Florida.

Jared Zwerling has been tapped as Bleacher Report’s National NBA Analyst where he will focus on features, breaking news and video analysis. He joins the company from ESPN.com where he primarily covered the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets across a variety of multimedia platforms. Zwerling will continue to be based in New York.

Ding and Zwerling officially joined Bleacher Report earlier this week, while Skolnick joins today and Beck will start on September 23.

“These four reporters are extremely well respected throughout the industry and they bring a wealth of experience and perspective to our NBA coverage,” said Joe Yanarella, editor-in-chief of Bleacher Report. “The addition of these journalists is a game changer for our coverage of the NBA as we deepen our commitment to enhancing our content offerings and continue to build our roster of talented contributors at Bleacher Report.”

 

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