January 19th, 2011

FSWA Seeks to Increase Connection, Teaching in 2011

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

For the most part, I try to keep my personal takes out of the way of news around here. The general goal for FSB.com is to put news and info from the fantasy sports industry out there rather than to analyze each bit and/or give personal recommendations.

That said, I like what Fantasy Sports Writers Association Mike Beacom had to say in his most recent monthly news letter to members:

This past year was one of the FSWA’s most productive to date - the Hall of Fame got off the ground, our members participated in the first annual baseball awards, and we introduced a new self-nominate system for our annual writing awards. But now we’ve entered a new year, and with it come a few new priorities for this organization.

1. Develop our social networking tools — In 2011, the FSWA will use Facebook and LinkedIn to distribute news/features and promote our functions. By year’s end we expect to have a much more active community.

2. Create dynamic member pages — We’re in the process of designing a new profile page for members which will allow them the opportunity to put their work in front of prospective fantasy employers.

3. Provide more opportunities for young writers to grow — One thing members will notice beginning this spring is more content on our website. These stories will be geared toward helping young writers build better fantasy stories. Also, we have plans to offer monthly mentoring opportunities where experienced fantasy writers will offer new members feedback. We’re currently seeking fantasy veterans to volunteer for months beginning in March.

I’ve always been a fan of what the FSWA stands for. I found it first as an aspiring fantasy writer looking for a gig beyond the local newspaper in Neverheardofit, N.Y., and the site’s former message board helped to hook me up with my first fantasy employer. (Full disclosure: It happened to be Beacom.)

The FSWA is an organization composed of volunteers donating time to support quality fantasy content and try to connect people throughout an industry that is still new enough to largely revolve around personal connections.

That said, the FSWA has often lacked a consistent presence. It’s an organization a writer might join and then not think about much until award time or the day his Industry Insiders league drafts. That’s not meant to knock the FSWA leadership, which comprises entrepreneurs, people who have day jobs outside of fantasy and those who already spend all their actual work time focusing on this stuff. Time can be difficult to make, and even when you succeed, donating it for free work isn’t too attractive.

Beacom and the other FSWA leaders would do quite a service, though, by affording their members more opportunities to connect with others and showcase their material and skills, and less experienced writers would be wise to seize opportunities for tips and critiques of their work. I certainly plan to offer my help for goal No. 3.

Here’s hoping the FSWA reaches its 2011 goals with as much ease and as little extra work as possible for all involved.


ESPN.com Takes You Inside the Fantasy Life

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

You might think that the few lucky folks who make their livings as fantasy sports writers and analysts simply spend all their time talking, thinking and writing about this stuff.

That’s not always the case, but it certainly is this week for the ESPN fantasy staff, which is preparing its 2011 baseball rankings. For the first time, they also plan to give the public a glimpse into the process and a virtual seat at the table via Cover It Live.

Per ESPN’s James Quintong …

Fans talk about how fantasy writers have the greatest job in the world, because all they do is sit around and look up stats and spout off their opinions. Most of the time, we take issue with that and emphasize how much hard work goes into everything.

But not this time.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, and Thursday, Jan. 20, the ESPN fantasy team is holding its annual fantasy baseball rankings summit. For two days, we gather to debate the merits and warts of hundreds of players, lob insults at each other and generally have a good ol’ time. At the end of it, we come out of the room with the framework of the rankings and projections we will be sharing with you in early February.

The proceedings got underway at 9:15 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday and will carry on through most of the day and Thursday.