Blount Press Row with Stefan Cooper
Sports bring us together. Athletes inspire us. Teammates support us. We build community when we play together. Stefan Cooper created Blount Press Row to focus attention on the vibrant sports community in Blount County.
Five years later, BPR is the source for local sports stories that feature the people in our community. Stefan now has over 30 years of experience covering sports, especially in Blount County. If you know Stefan, you know how uniquely qualified he is to cover sports here. He rarely forgets an athlete: he often remembers the jersey numbers of the parents of the kids he writes about now. As he puts it, "The most important thing is to make the connection with people."
Those connections are more important now than ever.
Blount Press Row has sustained its first half-decade on funds from local advertisers. This has been a challenge, but the fact that BPR has survived on advertising to this point is evidence of the quality of the content and the hustle behind it. Since the beginning, friends of Blount Press Row have helped keep things running in important ways, but for the late-night, overtime, day-to-day grind, it’s been basically a one-man show. Until now, on top of the work of gathering and creating content on the site, Stefan sold the ads, learned to code, formed an LLC, handled accounts payable.... He wears a lot of hats, even though the only we ever see on his head is that same old Yankees cap.
For decades, Stefan has invested himself—physically, mentally, financially—into reporting more than just what happens on the field, track, and court. He knows the stories behind the games; he knows the families behind the teams. Stefan tells us about the people in sports, and he does that because he believes in it.
Ultimately though, to remain sustainable Blount Press Row needs other sources of revenue. This will allow Stefan to spend more time doing what he does best: writing sports. This will also let him get to work on the next phase: building a team.
From the start, Blount Press Row has been about community.
As newspapers consolidate and media changes, local sports get less coverage . Stefan started Blount Press Row because he believed that sports stories featuring people in Blount County were too important to miss. But, though his memory for facts and stats may seem like a super-power, even Stefan can only be in one place at a time. He’s always known he needed a team.
There are lots of ways to be part of that team:
Join the Street Team!
Write for us, submit photos, help out with tech… there’s plenty of work to go around! We'll be offering training based on Stefan's decades of experience as a journalist. Stay tuned to find out how to sign up.
Support Blount Press Row by sharing or donating to our campaign on GoFundMe
We’ve set the goal to fund BPR’s operations for a year. Donations help us reach this goal. This will free us up to spend more time covering the best sports stories in Blount County, which means that what you'll see on the site will be even better than what you love about BPR now.
When you donate $40 or more, you also get access the Blount Press Row Skybox, featuring exclusive content.
Watch for updates about other benefits...
What happens when you support Blount Press Row? Good things.
Stefan remembers loving sports his whole life, and he remembers reporting on sports for almost as long. As a kid he wrote up stats and results from little league games for the local paper. The paper couldn’t have gotten that coverage otherwise. And Stefan learned lessons in reporting and writing while he fed his love of sports. His dream for Blount Press Row accomplishes the same thing by making more people part of telling the stories of sports in our community.
On any team, you get as much as you give. With your support, BPR will be able to:
Build the Street Team
BPR is developing a curriculum, drawing on Stefan’s extensive experience in sports journalism, to train student reporters to cover sports at their schools and in their communities. Student reporters who progress through the curriculum will get press access to local events and have the chance to get paid to write about sports, in addition to building experience and skills. Watch for updates and more info!
Expand Coverage by Expanding Staff
BPR will expand its freelance budget, providing broader coverage and allowing more people, including student re porters, to get involved telling the stories of sports in Blount County.
BPR will also add a salary for its hardw orking founder & editor and expand its staff to include a part-time position to manage administrative tasks.
The time is now! Blount Press Row needs YOU!!
If you know Stefan Cooper, you know he knows sports in this community better than anybody else. If you’ve only met him through his stories, you know that the perspective he offers is insightful, knowledgeable and in-tune not just with the games but with the people who play, watch, coach, and love them. Blount Press Row tells those people’s stories, and that’s worth supporting.
You can start now by sharing, donating, or volunteering. Stay tuned for more!