Posts Tagged ‘Tom Bragg’

Inside the Gazette-Mail High School Huddle

Friday, August 2, 2013

If you thought Middle East peace negotiations were complicated, try putting two newspaper sports staffs — and two photo staffs — in a room to hammer out one awesome website that will cover Kanawha Valley prep football from one end to the other.

High-School-Huddle-Final_I130801214545Actually, that last aspect — the awesomeness of the new Gazette-Mail High School Huddle — is both the end result and what made everybody involved adopt a cooperative spirit. Once everybody realized this thing could be great, everybody was on board.

And so the Huddle was born.

It’s a website that will be chock full of stories, photos and videos — plus other useful content — of the Kanawha Valley football scene. Look for content from both the Daily Mail and the Gazette in one handy location. The Daily Mail’s Tom Bragg is managing the site.

Derek Taylor_HIN9938

Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor, the Daily Mail’s preps editor, explained the Huddle better than I can in a column that ran today.

If you’re a high school football fan, I think you’re really going to like this.

It’s supposed to go live this weekend — just in time for practice in Kanawha County to start Monday.

Want to get a jump on it? Follow Derek Taylor on Twitter (@ItsreallyDT) and you’ll know exactly where it can be found the second it goes live (and keep following Derek for social media coverage of West Virginia prep sports.) 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 That can keep you posted as well.

See you in the Huddle!

Straight outta Kanawha

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not only do we cover your community — a lot of times we hire our newsroom employees from your community.

That’s certainly the case with our three newest newsroom contributors — all proud products of the Kanawha County school system.

Whitney Humphrey

Whitney Humphrey

Whitney Humphrey is a 2007 Riverside High School graduate. She has joined our copy desk, where she’ll be editing stories, writing headlines, laying out pages and helping with our online offerings at Daily and on social media. Follow her on Twitter: @W_HumphreyWV

Whitney is a Marshall University graduate and a former employee of the State Journal, where she was a state government reporter.

But her interest in journalism began long before that.

My journalism ‘career’ began when I was editor-in-chief of The Sixth Grade Scoop in middle school. Our little newspaper lasted one edition.

Whitney is a veteran of Charleston Newspapers’ FlipSide program, which is written for and by area teens. It’s managed by the Charleston Gazette’s Amy Robinson and, before her, Marina Hendricks.

I loved FlipSide and got to do some really cool things, including attending the Youth Editorial Alliance conference in Nashville as a teen fellow. That was in 2005, I think. FlipSide gave me more freedom to explore my creative side. I always knew I wanted to write, I just didn’t know how to go about accomplishing that. FlipSide, and Marina and Amy, really opened my eyes to the things I could do through journalism. So here I am. I’ll always be proud of my alma mater, and I’m thankful for the teachers who would read my FlipSide articles and tell me what a bright future I had.

Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg graduated from Nitro High in 2002. He’s in the sports department, where he’ll be writing and editing. We’ve given Tom the reins of Charleston Newspapers’ High School Huddle website that focuses on prep football. He’ll be managing content, including stories, photo galleries and video.

Tom is a Marshall University graduate. He previously worked on the Daily Mail’s news copy desk and was sports editor at the Times-West Virginian in Fairmont. He has been a minor league baseball correspondent for Follow him on Twitter: @TomBraggSports.

Tom also is a veteran of the FlipSide program. So this entire exercise of talking to new employees about their early journalism education has underscored to me just how important that program is.

I was a Flipsider during my junior and senior years. I also attended Capital for 10th grade during the 1999/2000 school year and wrote for the school newspaper (I think it was called The Prowler).

I was also on the news crew in the 8th grade at Andrew Jackson Middle School. We did a daily broadcast with announcements and sports updates. The whole thing was done by students and it was super fun.

Kelly Merritt.    Charleston Daily Mail/Craig Cunningham 6/25/13

Kelly Merritt

Kelly Merritt is, how should we say this … the most experienced of the new hires.

He’s a 1979 graduate of South Charleston High School.

Kelly is our editorial page editor, where he’s responsible for all the opinion content, including staff editorials, columns and letters to the editor. Follow him on Twitter: @EKMerritt

I’m not sure there was any FlipSide back when Kelly was in high school. But he seemed to have early — although nearly thwarted — journalistic aspirations.

I didn’t know what career track I wanted to do in high school, but I did write at least one article for the student newsletter about student involvement and interest in politics. The editor – last names Parsons – first name I don’t recall – completely re-wrote my article — and he added a line about where students ranked on the “totem pole of political efficacy.”

Mr. Kimble, the teacher for the American Government class that Parsons was in with me (along with Yeager Airport’s Rick Atkinson) gave Parsons absolute hell for taking the easy to understand piece I wrote and making it sound like a political science Ph.D. dissertation.

Kelly comes to the Daily Mail after a 30-year career as a professional communicator.

A 1984 Marshall University graduate, he has held communications jobs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont, Texas, and spent most of his career at Columbia Gas Transmission in Charleston.

At Columbia, he interacted regularly over the years with Charleston Daily Mail business reporters Phil Nussel, Chris Stadelman and George Hohmann.

He most recently served as communications manager for the Division of Science and Research of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

And, yes, he stays in touch with South Charleston High.

As for high school, I have been involved with my alma mater as football PA announcer, Grand Reunion Planning Committee and athletic boosters president (ugh).

I stay in touch with my college professors George Arnold and Ralph Turner and am a 20 year MU football season ticket holder. Go Herd!

From one end of the Kanawha Valley to the other, I’m glad to have all these hometown contributors on our staff.