A lot has changed at Bleacher Report since being acquired by Turner 3 years ago. Specifically, the content, while still produced at a mind-numbingly excessive rate, is better. Moreover, Turner cash has allowed for more capable hires (i.e. Mike Freeman), who actually contribute to the media ecosystem with fastidious, insightful reporting.
It’s an overt observation that anyone who reads the site could make and has been a vital part of Bleacher Report’s intentional rebranding strategy, dating back to even their pre-acquisition days.
What often gets lost in the shuffle of a content company’s more apparent changes — like big name hires or changes in editorial aspirations — are the covert transition periods they go through, especially following such huge acquisitions. What are Bleacher Reporter’s new bosses currently like?
One of the more interesting things brought to my attention earlier this summer by a tipster was the supposed discord between Bleacher Report’s current management team — groomed by Turner execs and, for better or worse, no longer on the site’s original founders’ watch — and full-time Bleacher Report staffers in various departments. When I pressed the tipster for further details, he instead pointed me to GlassDoor, where employees have been frequently lodging legitimate, concerning complaints about the company’s current culture. Recurring themes throughout range from stringing along employees — a B/R staple — to discrimination.
Ideally, I would be able to give readers more here, but outside of what seems to have been a possible exodus of B/R’s video production department at some point in June, I’m basically in the dark.
If you know more about what’s going on in Bleacher land (I’m looking at you, anonymous GlassDoor posters), get at me via email — firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, here are a handful of former and current staffers who testify that Bleacher Report’s current management team are pretty much the worst. Bold emphasis mine.
Position/Job Status: Current Employee
Date: June 25th, 2015
Title: How long can we live for this?
Pros: It’s a job in sports. It’s a job. Pro for those who enjoy torture.
Cons: Cons include a vast array of dishonesty, an imbalance of power & pay rate, and an overall mess when it comes to management and direction. There is no sense of balance between the management and the staff doing the work. Because of this there is a lot of deception given to the employees, and with the deception comes lies and abuse. A lot of the misdirection by the management comes primarily by the poor choice in staffing. The management overall are unqualified due to hiring within or referrals, or just flat out inexperience due to age. If you’re a seeking applicant do not think that receiving a position with Bleacher Report will include any application of fairness in terms of employee/employer honesty or your pay rate. Do not take seriously the amount of money they are offering you. Respect your work.
Advice to Management: Take a look around. What you’re looking at you did not build. These people you’re lying to are the ones keeping the company afloat. Not you. Help them.
Position/Job Status: Video Production, Current Employee
Date: May 8th, 2015
Title: Extremely Mismanaged
Pros: The company does a good job at doing “fun” things in effort of employee retention, however most of it revolves around providing free beer and that’s about it.
Cons: BR has not done a good job at retaining good talent, management shows zero loyalty towards long term employees and will happily let one go to bring in someone else at a lower wage. Just look at how many minorities are in management, or how many women are among the ranks. I have witnessed sexual harassment on numerous occasions and upper management willingly turn a blind eye.
Advice to Management: You have the wrong people in management. People need to run the company who have experience running large companies, as opposed to people who were brought up in the br system. Just because you know the product does not mean you know how to manage the people. This shows. Not all departments are the same but when a person from a newspaper background is running the video department - something needs to change. Rehire people that have an actual background in running the departments they are assigned to.
Position/Job Status: Current Employee
Date: July 8th, 2015
Title: Bleacher Report Could Be So Much Better
Pros: 401K matched pretty well by parent company - If applicable, parent company will subsidize and or reimburse travel expenses - Free beer at the end of the day - Free snacks weekly - Upper management has made some strives to create a more diverse workforce
Cons: Pay is abysmal and insulting - Sexism - Lower level workers are fearful of bringing any concerns to managers AND human resources - Some upper managers are woefully passive aggressive and others are completely incompetent and unqualified - Many employees have been and are being completely marginalized - The company wastes money on outings and lunches as a means to quell employee dissatisfaction rather than address their issues directly, honestly and sincerely - Absolutely no certified supplemental training offered - Absurdly poor communication - Do-nothing middle managers in terms of employees most basic working needs - Do-nothing middle managers in terms of some employees negligence
Advice to Management: Turner Sports, please, do something about this. Morale is astoundingly low, confidence in upper managers is unfortunately laughable, and the honest hardworking employees are having a hard time rationalizing why they should still be giving this company their all.
Position/Job Status: Former employee
Date: July 27th, 2015
Title: Politics, Technical Debt, and Zero Product Vision
Pros: Unfortunately there are no longer any pros to working at Bleacher Report. The post-acquisition incentive period ended in early 2015 and everyone responsible for the growth of the company — from the founders to senior management to all the design and engineering talent — promptly left the company. Only career middle managers and a very junior technical team remain, and even they are mostly just padding their resumes before they can jump ship too. You can imagine the kind of effect this kind of talent drain has had on the culture. Bleacher Report used to be a fun place to work. Now the people who still work there describe it as a “tomb” or a “library.” Everyone has their headphones in all the time. No one socializes. No one looks forward to coming in. It’s a place where people punch the clock and collect their paychecks, hoping never to catch the gaze of a vengeful, spiteful management team.
Cons: Where to start? If you’re looking for a post-acquisition company that pays below market salaries, has zero product vision, a toxic, incessantly political culture, loads of technical and design debt, and absolutely no product or engineering talent left to make progress, then Bleacher Report is the company for you. There is absolutely no reason for any designer, engineer, product manager, or QA person worth their salt to consider this company. You get all the soul-crushing constraints of ad-supported business with none of the benefits of a fast-growing Silicon Valley company. The product team outsources design and native app development because no one with talent will come near the company. Even so they haven’t been able to ship substantial changes to their app or website in over two years. The rest of the engineering team is in perpetual firefighting mode, struggling to keep the site from collapsing under the weight of laughably bad product management. This is a company that recently instituted a “no meeting Thursday” policy at the recommendation of its “culture committee.” That should tell you everything you know.
Advice to Management: The management team should stay at Bleacher Report forever, lest they infect other companies with their unique blend of pettiness and utter incompetence.
Position/Job Status: Video editor/producer, Former Employee
Date: June 30th, 2015
Pros: Was fun to be surrounded and engulfed in the sports world.
Cons: Horrible management & HR. They refuse to give raises and the chance to advance is minimal at best.
Advice to Management: Take care of your loyal employees, before you lose them all.
Position/Job Status: Current employee
Date: July 2nd, 2015
Title: SPORTS! BEER! ...MISMANAGEMENT! LOW PAY!
Pros: Free beer & snacks - Very casual, relaxed office environment - IF you’re full-time, the 401k employer match is pretty great Note: Overall this is a decent place to work, but please read my cons...
Cons: On paper, Bleacher Report seems like a dream job for a 20-something sports lover. But the reality of it all is truly the opposite. The beer, snacks and laid back environment is all a diversion. Take that away and you are left with an extremely untrustworthy, cheap and horribly mismanaged company. Management does not reward hard work or even good work, but rather the employees that are buddy buddy with the fraternity-like group of overpaid and under-qualified managers who have been grandfathered into their positions since the startup days (before Turner bought the company). Promotions and fair compensation is hard to come by. Temporary employees are promised full-time employment, yet are hired then fired repeatedly every sports calendar year to save money. The company is not loyal to their full-time employees and will fire you without notice if they choose. The video department specifically is very divided. Management is passive aggressive and refuses to address or fix any of these problems. The underlying theme at Bleacher Report is that the product must thrive at the expense of the employee. I encourage you to stay away.
Advice to Management: Turner needs to take a real hard look at what they’ve invested in. The employee retention rate is absolutely horrible. Loyal, talented employees are leaving at a rapid rate because of repeated mistakes and common complaints. I would advise Turner to replace most if not all of upper-management before their investment turns rotten.
Position/Job Status: Former employee
Date: August 10th, 2015
Title: Jerks Work at BR Don’t Believe These PR Reviews
Pros: None this place really sucks your soul and makes you hate yourself for working for these aholes.
Cons: There are no pros to working here. Management are a bunch of children plain and simple, they can’t even look you in the eye as they pass by you. This company is run by cowards and entitled goons who are oblivious to their employees problems. They write all these 4 star reviews themselves to try to balance the true reviews. Please look through all these reviews and make an informed decision. Let me be clear jerks work here! From the lower level to the senior management.
Advice to Management: Get other jobs, clearly you suck at this. Turner must step in; these idiots don’t know what they’re doing.