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How the Past and Present will Shape the Future of FWtCT

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Where I’ve been as a blogger and where I plan to steer For Whom the Cowbell Tolls in the future.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Monday May 22nd was a pretty significant day for me personally. I received word from the powers that be at SB Nation I would be the new Manager of For Whom the Cowbell Tolls.

I’m both humbled and excited to be leading the site into the future. This site has been an important part of my Mississippi State fandom for quite some time.

For those who don’t know, I live close to the Memphis area. And for most of my life, the local paper, The Commercial Appeal, had done a terrific job of covering Mississippi State athletics. But as the role of newspapers has changed, so did their coverage of Mississippi State.

Like most newspapers, The Commercial Appeal has had to take severe cost saving measures to remain operational. One of these cost saving measures the paper took was limiting the amount of coverage to Mississippi State sports it would continue to offer.

Soon after, I began to look for other avenues to read about Mississippi State. Sometime in 2011, I discovered For Whom the Cowbell Tolls for the first time. It has been a regular part of my day ever since.

I enjoyed reading the site so much, I decided to start submitting an occasional Fan Post from time to time in 2012. These were the first steps I took to becoming the Manager of FWtCT today.

Back in October 2013, Josh Barnhill who was writing under the pen names The Croom Diaries and Metal Building Dawg was trying to find a new platform for his independent blog Maroon & White Nation. Josh had discovered FanSided and saw they had no Mississippi State blog. It was at this time he began the process of having MWN absorbed into the FanSided network.

In doing so, he needed writers. He had remembered a few of my Fan Posts, and this led him to look me up after he noticed my Facebook account on his brother-in-law’s phone one day at a Mississippi State game. Josh asked his brother-in-law if he knew anything about me, and decided to take a chance on me by offering me a position on his new staff.

I spent the next 14-15 months writing about Mississippi State. I started off with just a couple of posts a week, but enjoyed it so much, I was writing 10-20 posts a month for Josh at MWN. As I continued to write and contribute, Josh offered me a spot as co-editor in February of 2015.

For the next year and a half or so, I continued to write and even added podcasting to my repertoire. It was lots of fun, but also a lot of work. And because it was so much work, it led me to For Whom the Cowbell Tolls in August of 2016.

My personal life and job had begun to make writing as much as I needed to at FanSided a near impossibility. Ethan had previously told me I’d be welcome to come aboard anytime I wanted. I didn’t want to give up blogging, so a reduced role was perfect.

So why am I taking on more responsibility as Manager? It’s because of the effort Ethan has put into building the site into what it is today. Ethan had told me some time ago he knew he would be stepping down as manager, and asked me if I would be interested in taking over when he did. At the time, I thought there was no way I would be able to do so.

But Ethan found a team of guys in the months since then that have made For Whom the Cowbell Tolls one experiencing some of the most growth on the SB Nation network of college blogs. We don’t just write. Our team writes, podcasts, and occasionally throws up a few videos. The site has experimented with different forms of media, and I hope we can continue to experiment with various forms of content in the future.

And this is where I turn to you, our reader. We have an amazing group of contributors, but would like to expand even further. If you’ve ever thought it would be fun to bring content to this site, I’d love to talk to you about what you can offer. If you want to podcast, I can show you how easy it is for our site. If you want to do video, as long as your phone can record video, you’re ready to join us. And if you want to be old school and just write, there’s plenty of room for that as well. If you have some other ideas, I’d love to listen.

The site continues to grow each month, and we would love for you to be a part of that growth. If you’re interested, send me an email to jstrawn05@gmail.com, and we can discuss it. I’d love to hear from you!