Teen has the write stuff
By: NOELLE BARRETT Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Cody Benjamin is a journalist. He has interviewed many athletes and agents over the past few years, and tries to write something new each day. Benjamin not only writes for his website, but also for the teen section of Lancaster Newspapers. Was it mentioned that he is only 18 years old?
Benjamin, a recent graduate of Warwick High School, and the son of Maurice and Rovena Benjamin and Sharon and Steve Painter, has been on the road to his journalism career since he was 14.
"I always liked writing since an early age," said Benjamin. "I started to document and record stuff with sports."
In January of 2009, Benjamin started his WordPress blog, Bleed Green, where he would write articles about his favorite NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
"When I started, it wasn’t anything serious," said Benjamin. "It was just a casual thing to write about the Eagles. Throughout the months and years, it got more serious."
What started out as ideas jotted down in a notebook and stories on his blog, turned into his website, also titled Bleed Green. He went from updating a few times a week to several times a day.
"When I started, it was only a short article every couple days. Now I try to write two or three articles per day," said Benjamin. "I try to be as in-depth as possible."
Benjamin doesn’t just follow and report statistics, but has in-depth interviews with current and former players including Jamar Chaney, Hollis Thomas, Evan Mathis, Dan Klecko, Brent Celek, Ellis Hobbs, Quintin Mikell, and Jamaal Jackson, among others.
"All of the interviews were surreal," said Benjamin. "I was nervous at first, but I just kind of got into the habit like it’s a regular conversation. A couple of years ago, I would have never dreamed of it."
Benjamin said one of his most memorable interviews was with Quintin Mikell because, "I had a long, candid conversation with him."
His eye for detail and his hard work has earned him a lot of trust in the industry.
"My website has been referenced by Fox Sports and the Eagles official website," said Benjamin.
He received media credentials for training camps and events, and has contact information for several agents and players he talks to on a regular basis.
The only time Benjamin slowed down updates for his website was when he worked on his magazine, "Bleed Green’s 2012 Eagles Preview."
"For a while I wanted to do my own magazine," said Benjamin. "From January until June, I started working on it."
Benjamin said a lot of planning went into the magazine before he was able to start writing for it. The 60-page magazine is for sale online in print and digital copies, but it is something he did for passion, not profit. He also views it as a stepping stone to reach his dream of a career in journalism.
"It’s for fun, but also to get my name out there," said Benjamin.
Putting so much time into his website and writing wasn’t always easy. Benjamin still had to maintain good grades and find time for other activities. In high school, he was involved in History Club and played baseball. He is also a guest on ESPN radio every Tuesday and works at Bent Creek Country Club.
"There were a lot of days where I would be on a tight schedule or I would have homework," said Benjamin. "I always had an obligation where, oh I had to get this news up, and a lot of people would put something like that off."
Benjamin said it isn’t hard to find the news and information online, but persevering is the most difficult part.
"When your schedule is tight or a story isn’t well received, you have to still do it," said Benjamin.
The success of his journalism endeavors hasn’t just surprised him, but his family too. Benjamin said there were times he kept them out of the loop.
"A lot of the stuff I did behind the scenes, and so it was kind of a pleasant surprise to them," he said. "They knew I was working on some of the stuff, but with the magazine, I wanted to surprise them."
Professionals and reporters are often shocked to find how young Benjamin is and how successful he has been.
"When I was talking with reporters, they were proud of how much I accomplished at such a young age. It gives me more incentive to do interviews," he said. "Another writer told me that he wished he had the drive I have at such a young age, and I appreciated that."
Benjamin’s journey into journalism is just beginning. He is looking forward to attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
"I’m not too nervous. I’m sure I’ll be nervous when I get there," he said. "I’m just looking forward to getting an internship and taking my passion for writing and make that an actual reality."
He said he will continue to update his website as much as he can without it interfering with his studies. Benjamin hopes to make a career out of sports writing or journalism.
"I never really played football for an actual team, but I always liked watching it, and it’s something I could connect with," he said. "My passion is sports."
Benjamin said it’s important for everyone to follow their passion and never give up on their dreams.
"If you put your mind to it, you can reach the goal," he said. "Keep pushing."
Cody’s WordPress blog: bleedgreenforever.wordpress.com
Cody’s website: bleeds-green.com
Cody’s magazine: magcloud.com/browse/issue/323749 More BENJAMIN, page B-10