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Zach Lowe talks about how he became a sports journalist, mentioned Bullets Forever in a recent podcast

I’m flattered by recent comments ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe said on our site last week on The Mismatch podcast, where he recommended that an aspiring young sports writer and Wizards fan look at Bullets Forever as a potential place to get some writing experience.

Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards
ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe talked at length about his journey toward becoming a sports journalist. He also mentioned our site to a young Wizards fan who is looking to write.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

I listen to several podcasts, including some on the Washington Wizards regularly. Two of our writers, Matt Modderno and Ben Mehic are co-hosts of the Bleav in Wizards and Locked on Wizards podcasts respectively which you can listen to on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other platforms. I also check out On the Road with Buck and Phil, hosted by former Wizards play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz and color analyst Phil Chenier.

There are some national NBA podcasts I listen to as well, including The Mismatch on The Ringer, which is hosted by Chris Vernon and Kevin O’Connor. Bullets Forever got a mention on a recent episode last week when ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe was their guest on a Feb. 12 episode.

While Lowe talked about national NBA stories like All-Star voting and Joel Embiid’s season, he began the show focusing on how he got into sports journalism.

Long story short, Lowe was a government and legal reporter for The Stamford Advocate and The American Lawyer but also wrote on Lowe’s writing on the Celtics helped get him an opportunity to work for Grantland, which was later acquired by ESPN.

But even before then, Lowe mentioned on the podcast that he offered to write high school sports articles for a newspaper in Williamsburg, Va. while he was pursuing a master’s degree in history at The College of William and Mary.

At around the 11 minute mark of the podcast, Lowe stated that he gave some advice to a young Wizards fan who wanted to write about the team despite not having formal journalism experience. Here’s the gist of his quote:

Go to Read every single thing they do on the Wizards and write stuff that’s not there. Find anything’s that not there, find one statistical nugget, find one quirk about the team, find something that no one on that site has read before. Write it. Beg them to publish it.

If you write something that hard core fans of a team, it doesn’t matter how nerdy you think it is ... if it’s good, and interesting, and people haven’t read it before, and you do that two or three times in a row, BF [will say], ‘this dude’s bringing something to the table’ and it snowballs from there. It’s really hard, but give them something they don’t know. And then you’ll get somewhere from there.

I was flattered by Lowe’s shoutout and knew about it last weekend. In addition, O’Connor, who wrote for SB Nation’s Celtics Blog before his current role at The Ringer also gave Jeff Clark, their site manager a shout out.

After hearing this segment, I am still wondering if the person who Lowe talked to reached out to me if it was recently. After all, I’ve been the site manager here for about one and a half years now.

But if you are wondering why I wasn’t quick to post this earlier, it’s because I’m not out also not one who is quick to put the spotlight on the site just for the heck of it.

What sprung me to action was that some other writers, including Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll, SBN’s Lakers site noted it on his Twitter account. So I eventually obliged and retweeted it on the site’s account.

As for my reaction to Lowe’s shoutout, I agree with his assessment on how one can get to writing on most SB Nation team sites like ours. Lowe also mentioned that writing on a site like this is not easy. In the middle of his comments, he wrote that it is a side hustle for most of us, including myself. While no one is getting rich from it, it can also open doors for future opportunities.

Some of our past writers are now on bigger platforms, including Michael D. Sykes of USA Today’s For The Win, Satchel Price of the Chicago Sun-Times and Kelly Cohen of ESPN. Others have stayed on the site for the long haul, like myself. I’m not alone in that latter category because there are still many contributors on the SB Nation network who have been in their roles for over 10 years.

I think that our site’s mix of writers, some of whom want to build up their journalism experience and others who want a platform to express opinions on their favorite teams helps make Bullets Forever unique. We don’t just have news articles from the staff. We’ll post on some of their lightest moments and find an obscure stat that you won’t find anywhere else.

I wanted to clarify something Lowe said about “begging” us to publish a piece. Unlike most content platforms, no one has to beg to get a piece published. All you have to do is write a FanPost which can be like your own running blog. This feature also sets us apart from other content platforms. To do so:

  1. Sign up to be a member on Bullets Forever and wait 24 hours before you are allowed to comment. You first have to register by getting to the comments section and agree to be a commenter. The waiting period is there by design to minimize trolls or bots from openly being an annoyance. You have to be a member to write FanPosts and comments.
  2. Once that step is done, you need to write a FanPost. Click on the button that says “New FanPost” and you’ll be ready to give your thoughts and publish it right away.
  3. FanPosts are not fronted on the main page automatically. However, our commenters are quite good at writing them regularly, and many have eventually made the front page. That’s how many writers on this site have gotten on the team, including myself.

And if you have any questions along the way about writing a FanPost, etc., please feel free to email me at aleeinthedmv AT gmail DOT com.

Now, let the games continue!