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Profile: Bethlehem Shoals of The Classical

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*Ahem* Time for a new profile!

Hardcore basketball fans will know the name Bethlehem Shoals from the highly successful blog Well FreeDarko is no longer up and running (well technically it’s still up but not running anything new), but Shoals hasn’t stopped writing good basketball stuff. You can find his work on, Bleacher Report and on the new start up blog The Classical which you may remember me writing about here.

See what Shoals has to say about writing and editing as well as what he thinks about those big sports stories that have dominated multiple news cycles.


1. You’ve recently started a new blog, congratulations! I know from experience that the business side of blogging can sometimes be more time-consuming than producing/editing content. How are you balancing the two?

Well, in our case, we have someone who understands business way better than I do handling a lot of that stuff. The real tensions for me has been between my own writing and the editorial role I’ve taken on. I didn’t realize that editing and writing wear out the same part of the brain. And since we’re so intent on putting everything through a fairly intensive editorial process, I’m finding myself with less and less time, and energy, to get my own stuff up on the site.


2. In addition to writing for your own blogs, you also contribute to other sites. Do you see the trend toward more freelancing as being good or bad for writers who are just starting out? (take this question in any direction you wish)

Well, freelancing is how I make my income. The Classical is a dream project that, hopefully, will turn into a real revenue stream down the road. But I couldn’t really give up freelancing and work on my site full-time. At the same time, I do make a little money from it, drawn from the funds we raised via Kickstarter. The time I spend writing or editing for The Classical is time I’m not spending on my freelance career, so I have to make at least a little bit of that back. If someone starting out can freelance right off the bat, more power to them. Generally, though, folks need to start blogging and establish themselves before other outlets come knocking.


3. In the past year, we’ve seen how one sports story can dominate media coverage whether it’s Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin. Does this bother you? Do you see it as a good or bad thing?

I don’t think it’s a real trend. Both of those cases were pretty singular; you had figures who were already of interest to the public going on magical runs of success that defied all logic. Any time that happens to this degree, you’re going to get total media overkill. What bothers me is that stories like this can effectively blot out everything else. It seems like, even if there’s something truly miraculous going on in the world of sports, the rest of it doesn’t just cease to exist. Again, though, I don’t know if we really need to be worried about this phenomenon, since the odds of having Tebow and Lin within a few months of each other are astronomically slim.


4. What, if anything, do see yourself contributing to sports journalism? Is there some style or approach you’d like to be associated with or known for?

It’s impossible for me to answer that question without sounding either falsely modest, self-deprecating, or hopelessly arrogant.

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