Zach Lowy | Co-founder of Breaking The Lines
Our latest guest is with Breaking The Lines Co-founder, Zach Lowy.
Hi Zach, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell us about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?
I launched BTL after my first semester at George Washington University. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in my career, I was kind of lost at that moment and had struggled with the adaptation to college, but Thomas Anderson, who I’d never spoken to before, asked me to follow him back to discuss something on DMs. He said we should start a website and convert my threads on Twitter into articles on the website, and from there in the final days of 2016 to where we are now, it’s been an incredible journey.
When did you know you wanted to work in football media?
I always had a feeling that I’d like to be a writer someday — I had written for my high school newspaper and launched various blogs, and wrote my high school thesis on the history and politics behind El Clásico. Creating BTL only made that dream a reality. I was able to not only become a better writer and expand on multiple diverse topics in a growing platform, but also become a better editor and skilled at that facet of journalism as well.
Can you tell our readers about Breaking The Lines for those may not be familiar. What is it and how did it all start?
Breaking The Lines is a football website that focuses on every single aspect of the sport — just last week, we’ve published articles ranging from how Xavi and Mikel Arteta have revitalized Barcelona and Arsenal, rising young stars such as Edmond Tapsoba and Pedri, how Dominic Solanke and Lucas Torreira have reinvigorated their careers this season, and whether Luka Jović is capable of turning his career around at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The BTL podcast, how’s that going?
Over the past year, BTL has gone from an article-only platform to an article and podcast network, in addition to the number of interviews we have gotten such as Simão Sabrosa, André Villas-Boas and Fabrizio Romano. I launched a weekly podcast on Portuguese football in February 2021, and since then, Cortalinhas has been followed by other podcasts such as Area Di Rigore, our Serie A podcast, Casser les Lignes, our Ligue 1 podcast, as well as The Tactics Room and Under The Spotlight, which focus on a more general, diverse range of topics.
We have also increased our content in the Spanish language this year, with the launch of the podcast Rompiendo Lineas which focuses on one topic per episode such as Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht or Pierre Kalulu’s emergence at Milan, as well as The Show which is a group debate as opposed to a one-on-one interview which discusses more general topics such as the World Cup draw.
What’s the long-term goal for Breaking The Lines, how do you see it continue to develop?
The long-term goal of Breaking The Lines is to monetize our content on a long-term basis so that we can pay content creators such as podcast editors, writers, article editors and so on and incentivize a creator base that strives to go the extra mile and delve deep into unique, intriguing topics in football. We are on our way towards accomplishing that goal and are looking to change the face of football journalism in the process.
You’ve produced work for the likes of Bet.co.za, St. Louis CITY SC and talkSPORT on a freelance basis. Do you have any standout pieces/projects you wish to share?
My favorite recent project has been the latest episode of Cortalinhas — I discussed the top 25 players in the Primeira Liga this season with two brothers from England who make up the Long Ball Futebol podcast. My next weekly round-up for BET Central on Monday will discuss the top 5 Cinderella Stories in Europe this season, teams who have defied the odds and delivered historic seasons for their supporters. I interviewed Roman Bürki recently and have an upcoming article on the St. Louis CITY app with the goalkeeper who has ended his time at BVB after 7 years and becomes the first blockbuster signing in the MLS club’s history.
I’m sure you’ve received countless pitches in your time. In your opinion, what makes a good pitch? Any key advice you can share with freelancers at the start of their journey looking to pitch their stories/ideas to editors?
What makes a good pitch is having an article that’s exciting and in-depth, something unique that will use good analysis, opinions or structure depending on what the piece is about and that can be delivered in an articulate manner.
Who are your favourite writers at the moment and what do you think it is that makes them so brilliant?
It’s hard to name just a few writers but Alex Barker (@EuroExpert_) has been brilliant since joining BTL a few months ago with several in-depth articles on Ivan Jurić’s Torino and Union Saint-Gilloise’s push for their first Belgian league title in nearly 90 years. Kelan Sarson, Adam Khan, Vito Doria…there are so many others I’ve failed to mention but we have such an incredible core of writers and I believed that more than anything will take us to the next level as a company.
And finally Zach, where can people find you on social media to connect?
People can find me at @ZachLowy on Twitter and can listen to my podcast Cortalinhas on Spotify and Apple.
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