CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A sportswriter friend recently gave me a bit of good-natured ribbing regarding the absence of his Charleston peers from the Victory Awards Dinner last May.
"I mean, you mean to tell me that none of the, what, hundred people you guys have down there between those two papers could make it to Clarksburg?" he asked between laughs.
The exaggeration of our manpower was for comical effect, but he also had a valid point. Between the Charleston Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette there are 14 full-time writers and/or editors in the employ of Charleston Newspapers, Inc.
Granted, two of those are relegated to covering the West Virginia University beat in Morgantown, and two more have their plates mostly full with covering Marshall, leaving their time allowances thin when it comes to prep sports. Nevertheless, at a time when many newspapers are struggling, the Daily Mail and the Gazette have been holding their own.
This situation begs a question: what does a leader do with the lead?
One thing a leader does not do is watch as potential challengers gain ground. A leader also does not see new opportunities for others to chip into the lead go by without a response.
A new website will launch within the next few days called The Gazette-Mail High School Huddle. It is designed to streamline prep football coverage from both Charleston newspapers into one location.
Follow me on Twitter (@ItsreallyDT) and you'll know exactly where it can be found the second it goes live. The Daily Mail Sports Twitter account (@SportsDailyMail) will also let you know, as will the Huddle's Twitter feed (@gazmailhshuddle).
The site already has its own Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/ GazetteMailHSHuddle. That can keep you posted as well.
The 6th Annual Daily Mail Preseason All-State Team can be found on the Daily Mail website now, and will serve as the kickoff content for the site. The individual preview stories on Class AAA, Class AA and Class A will be there, too, as will the playoff projections, returning leaders and coaching changes from 2012 that are in today's Preps Extra (pages 1D-3D).
The Daily Mail resurrected its live coverage of Friday night football games for the purposes of our website in 2012. The Gazette has maintained its Friday night presence on the web and in its Saturday print edition. The combination of the staffs for the purpose of this project will increase the number of games covered each Friday night, in effect broadening our coverage area to areas well outside the Kanawha Valley core areas of Kanawha and Putnam counties.