Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Speaker Spotlight: Ian Kenyon

March 1, 2016

ICYMI: 

Ian Kenyon was born and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he currently resides working as an NFL associate editor for Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report is a division of Turner Sports, and one of the leading digital destinations for team-specific sports content and real-time event coverage, per the company’s website. It is also one of the fastest-growing digital properties in the U.S. 

Kenyon attended Bowling Green State University, located just south of Toledo, Ohio. During his time as undergraduate there (2006-10), he gathered sports experience working with sports teams under various titles, such as a summer merchandising/retail intern for the Toledo Mud Hens and media relations manager for the Lake Erie Monarchs.In his junior year of college, Kenyon co-founded Sideline Scouting along with some of his college roommates from Bowling Green. He and his partnered roommates have produced 390-page guides for the NFL Draft every year since the website’s inception back in 2009. Kenyon maintains vice presidential status of the company today.  

In 2010, Kenyon graduated from Bowling Green with a B.S. in Education and Sport Management & Enterprise. His first post-graduation position came as the operations trainee for the Durham Bulls – a Triple-A minor league baseball team based in Durham, North Carolina. After a six-month stretch in Durham, Kenyon took a position as a video scout for Baseball Info Solutions in Coplay, Pennsylvania. His responsibilities included scoring and charting Major League Baseball games as well as writing defensive scouting reports. 

Kenyon excelled as a video scout, and within another six months he was contacted by ESPN and offered a position as a statistics analyst in the company’s Bristol, Connecticut, headquarters. There, he controlled play-by-play applications and conducted research for ESPN’s statistics and information group. Next, Kenyon returned to Baseball Information Solutions in April 2012 as a minor league scorer, but this time working out of New Britain, Connecticut. Kenyon was later contacted by Bleacher Report and offered an interview for the NFL associate editor position in 2012, but was not offered the position itself after the initial interview. 

Shortly afterwards, Bleacher Report returned to Kenyon interested in offering him an interview for the same position once again, and Kenyon made the most of his second chance. In July 2012, he began working for Bleacher Report as the NFL associate editor. The responsibilities of his current position include managing and hiring NFL feature columnists for Bleacher Report, along with heading the production, creation and execution of the media outlet’s content for the NFL department. 

For SBC members actively seeking employment or internships in the sports industry, especially sports journalism/media coverage opportunities, Kenyon had this to say: 

On most critical aspect of success for working in sports…
  • “Networking is huge. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. You may think someone in the industry with great connections remembers you after meeting them, but they need to know your name. That’s why to going events, going to the Senior Bowl, going to the NFL Scouting Combine is huge.”

On how to best connect with professionals across the sports industry…
  • “Twitter is an incredible tool for people your age. When I was in college Twitter was just getting off the ground and it had nothing like the impact it has today in sports journalism. It’s a great way to engage in a lot of productive conversation.”

On pursuing unpaid internships in the sports industry…
  • “It’s unrealistic to expect you’ll land a paid writing position as your first experience in the sports industry. I’ve never hired anyone who hasn’t written for free before. It’s how you get discovered.” 

On greatest current challenges/goals facing major sports media outlets…
  • “Monetizing social media is one of the greatest challenges that major sports media companies like Bleacher Report and ESPN are trying to solve. So much content is being created through mediums like Snapchat or Facebook, but they’re still not bringing ad revenue from those social platforms.”

On path to success in the sports industry…
  • “Find something that doesn’t feel like work to you. If you can find something like that, that’s exactly what you’re looking for.” 

Thank you to Ian Kenyon for making the trip down from Eau Claire and taking the time to share his invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working for a company like Bleacher Report as well as the sports journalism industry. 

Learn more about Ian Kenyon
Follow Ian Kenyon on Twitter: @IanKenyonNFL
Read the latest content by Ian Kenyon

Learn more about Bleacher Report
Follow Bleacher Report NFL on Twittter: @BR_NFL

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