Foghorn Editor Leads Bleacher Report
Before Rory Brown ’05 was president of one of the most widely read sports websites in the country, he spent his days cranking out copy, overseeing layout, and assigning stories to reporters working for USF’s student newspaper.
It’s been more than a decade since Brown was the San Francisco Foghorn’s editor-in-chief, but the lessons he learned continue to inform his work at Bleacher Report, a sports news site that’s backed by Turner Broadcasting and reaches more than 200 million people a month.
“The best skill I started to hone in college was leadership and management, and I did a lot of that at the Foghorn,” says Brown. “I managed a pretty small staff, but had to put out a product we were accountable for. I’m still in the same world now, but responsible for more people and a far more wide-reaching product.”
What makes USF great
Brown chose USF for its small classes, and for its media studies major which offers a range of classes related to journalism, film, communications law, and other media-related industries.
“While I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do back then, I knew it was something in the media world,” he says.
Brown published his first article in the Foghorn his sophomore year when Teresa Moore, associate professor of journalism, encouraged him to submit a theater review to the paper’s Scene section. Moore later introduced him to the Foghorn’s editor-in-chief, which landed Brown a job as a sports editor.
He rose to editor-in-chief by his senior year, drawing inspiration from some of the media professionals he met in his USF classes.
“That’s a big part of what makes USF great: You can take a class a week into the semester and your professor brings in the theater critic of the San Francisco Chronicle or a writer for the Bay Guardian,” he says. “At other schools, you might have pretty compelling speakers, but you’re not going to be able to sit there and shake their hand and ask questions. You’re sitting there with a couple hundred people hearing them talk.”
Prepared for the working world
After Brown graduated he interned at the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper, then became a reporter for the Menlo Park Almanac. He joined Bleacher Report in 2008 as an assignment editor and moved on to become front-page editor before working his way to the company’s operations team, which makes sure different departments are collaborating with each other.
Now, as president of Bleacher Report, Brown is working to expand the site’s reach.
“I’m accountable for figuring out how to position Bleacher Report as not just a dominant sports brand in the digital age, but as one of the bigger media brands for young people,” says Brown, who manages a staff of about 400. “What kind of content resonates with people? What should we create more of? How do we spend money on the right talent and right staff to create that content? And how can we be more creative in distributing it?”
Though he’s based in New York, he often visits the company’s San Francisco offices on business trips and sometimes stops by USF to speak to Moore’s current journalism students.
“I can’t speak highly enough of USF and the media studies department,” he says. “It’s impossible to feel fully prepared for the working world the first day after college, but I do think at USF I was able to build a skill set to handle situations I faced when I left school. That speaks volumes.”