Help Wanted: Staff writers for the greatest Phoenix Suns community on the interwebs

Mark Kolbe

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I have been so impressed with the fanposts lately. Some content on the fanposts is better than the content generated by us on the staff, and I don't hesitate to reward that work with a promotion to the cover of the site.

What's in it for YOU?

Well, you get the love and admiration of crazy Suns fans who devour your work. And if you're quite good, you might even be able to turn this work into a profession. At worst, it helps the resume.

Bright Side has seen a number of former writers move to fully paid jobs in the industry. Seth became a real-life overlord in Washington. Former editor Dan Hilton now works for the Suns in their digital analytics department. Other sites have had writers promoted right out of there into real work - Michael Schwartz and Mike Schmitz got full-time jobs based partially on their writing for Valley of the Suns. Many, many other writers have turned pro bono blogging into full-blown careers.

But most of us aren't in it for a career. We just do it for the fun of it. Most of us have a full time career/school "on the side" as well as family and maybe even school commitments.

Even if you don't want a career in basketball or writing, this is a great place to vent your thoughts. It's like a pressure-release valve. When I joined, it was because I had a lot to say about the Suns and needed somewhere to say it. Once I realized people actually wanted to read my work, I was hooked.

Minimum Qualifications

  1. You are an active member of the Bright Side community
  2. You are a huge fan of the Phoenix Suns
  3. You spend more time than you should every day reading and commenting on Suns stories, especially those on Bright Side
  4. You can write a complete sentence, and have an understanding of story-writing (beginning, middle, end)
  5. You ask yourself at least once a week 'why isn't there a story on _______ out there?' and realize you have a lot to say about it
  6. You get a kick out of fellow readers turning your comments purple
  7. You take pride in the accuracy of your comments. You don't overstate things just to get a rise out of people. Instead, you sometimes even run a google search or two to confirm that what you're writing isn't completely wrong.
  8. You don't get offended easily, when someone disagrees with you.

Preferred qualifications

  1. You refresh your twitter timeline at least 10 times a day
  2. You execute google and twitter searches like 'suns trade', 'suns draft', 'phoenix suns news' more than once a day, so you don't miss anything
  3. You come to Bright Side to talk about the latest news before we've had a chance to post the story
  4. You write too-long comments because you have so much to say on many Suns subjects; often ending the comment with a 'tl;dr' summary

More wish list

I would love to get a furrener (sp?) on the staff who can report from across the globe. The great thing about the internet is that it brings the entire world together in one place. We have a number fans on here who can write better English than most Americans even though English is their second, third or fourth language.

What kind of help I need

News reporting

I really need someone who will help report the latest Suns news in a very timely fashion. People come to Bright Side when they see a rumor or news item on the Suns, hoping to read our take on the news and talk about it with other Bright Siders. The sooner we can cover it with our own fresh take and opinions, the better.

This individual has to have a flexible schedule, so that they can take 20 minutes to post a Bright Side article within a couple hours of news breaking across the globe. We can follow up with in depth analysis the next day if need be, but having a quick post can be a huge boon to our readers.

Rotation work

Each Bright Side writer helps on a regular rotation - game coverage (in season), weekly feature (ie. Going Gorilla), prospect profiles (pre-draft), season previews and season recaps.

What kind of help I want

While I need, need, need the news reporting to keep the site current with latest news, what makes this community special is having a group of writers with a "voice" who can provide an informed opinion.

I really need people who care about what they write, and don't like to be proven wrong when they quote a fact. The people I need are those who would rather be correct than provocative.

Am I talking about you?

If you find yourself nodding, then hit me up to discuss a spot on the staff (email me). Generally, we start with a review of your fanposts. If you haven't done a fanpost, we may ask you to write one to show your talents there.

The commitment varies per person. For me, each article takes about 1-2 hours to research and write, unless you're really going for some deep analysis. Those can take longer. But I caution those who take a ton of time for any one article because generally you're not going to get any "eyes" on it than one written in less than an hour. Today's ADD reader (yes, I'm talking about you) only devotes so much time to one article.

Testimonials from the guys on staff

On why they decided to join the staff, despite no pay:

  • Sreekar: What sold me were the writers that were already on board (Dave, Jim Kris, Sean, Jacob, etc.) and the number of people that really engage with the content on a daily basis.
  • Mike Lisboa: It was finding a community that was as devoted to the Suns as I am. It was a place to take the fanaticism that even my friends who were Suns fans couldn't quite fathom. Frankly, it's an easy place to let my purple and orange freak flag fly. It was the chance to not only share my fandom, but the idea that in a like-minded community, it might actually have an impact somehow.
  • Kris Habbas: It was a great opportunity to work with the local team and have my work read by a rabid audience.
  • Sean (formerly 7footer): I joined way back in the day along side of "dahking" (Dave), when the Suns were still atop the Western Conference and we had our "Eyes on the Prize"! I loved reading the articles on BSOTS, and I often left lengthy comments. When I was approached to write, I couldn't turn it down.
  • Jim: I was asked several times about writing for the staff before I came on. The lure was being able to unleash my thoughts and opinions on a subject I'm deeply emotionally invested in (no, not being an asshole... the Phoenix Suns). Writing here has been a great creative outlet.

Favorite part of being a writer on BSotS:

  • Sreekar: My favorite part is knowing that my work will be read and received (whether positively or negatively) by a large, active and loyal community.
  • Mike: Game coverage. I like the focus that having a deadline brings to my viewership of a game. I like trying to tease out narratives of the "random number generator" that is an NBA game. That's really my favorite thing to do as a BSOTS writer.
  • Kris: Flexibility and freedom. Now, there is structure and guidelines, but those are sensible things that are easy to follow since we learned most of them in Kindergarten. The freedom comes from being able to write about an array of topics and what interests you.
  • Scott: My favorite part of being involved in the writing/community is that there's basically something for everyone. And if there's something you don't think is represented fairly then what a chance this is to bring your own interests to the forefront. Additionally for the most part the people writing are just like you - they also have day jobs that pay the bills and just have a passion for the Suns that they want to share. This also means people are pretty nice to each other and support each other when a post goes up - beyond certain fun people talking about how much of a waste of time your article was.
  • Sean: I'm a huge Suns fan and I have a background in writing (academically), so it's a nice change of pace for me to write content that is fun and entertaining for a change. I also love talking with other fans and the community of BSOTS. We have a great group!

On the time commitment per article:

  • Sreekar: Depends on the article. On original, numbers/research-heavy piece can take a few hours but most of the time, an hour or less.
  • Mike: 1-4 hours. I would love to spend more time sometimes, but I have to limit myself. My eyes are frequently too big for my writing stomach.
  • Kris: I like to research and have as much information as possible before diving in to any article, so the research may take a few hours with an hour or so to write the actual article. Sometimes longer, but overall they take in the neighborhood of 2-4 hours for an article. Maybe 30-45 minutes for news blurbs, and a full week to detox the Jim off me after a podcast.
  • Scott: I don't think I'd help much with recruitment since every time I write something it's painstakingly researched, 10 times as long as it needs to be, and written for basically me and Lisboa.
  • Sean: That depends. My favorites to write are definitely the scouting/draft articles, but those also take the longest to do right...sometimes as long as four or five hours. Other articles can be as short as an hour or two.
  • Jim: What made me take pause was the time investment. I don't know how much time other people spend on their feature articles, but I can sink 6-8 hours into a story without blinking. Sure, Player X wins award Y... or 2014-15 schedule is released only take an hour or so to throw up, but a lot of my articles require research, include graphs and tables, etc. that makes them more laborious.

Not scared off yet?

Then let me know. It's got be a voluntary thing. But if you have someone in the community you want to nominate, feel free to put that in the comments. Maybe others feel the same way and will support the nomination.

To get started, you need to write a Fanpost to demonstrate your writing ability. If that's well done, we can discuss giving you the byline to stardom.

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