Covering high-school recruiting. On a Sunday afternoon. Please meet Ray Brewer.

I’m a huge fan of Las Vegas Sun preps writer Ray Brewer and I love the way Brewer leads our coverage of high school sports in this valley. Plus, his enthusiasm and drive are contagious.

Other than Brewer, what also makes the Sun’s high-school sports coverage so unique is that it is online-only. As I’ve written numerous times before, because of the JOA in Las Vegas, our print edition only has eight pages each day — with no daily sports or entertainment content, except on rare occasions.

Before the fall sports season began, I posted a blog about our company’s high school sports strategy and how great Brewer is.

But if you want to see just how cool Brewer is, check out this video, or look at our overkill coverage of the state championship game that included: a huge preview section, a pre-game audio podcast with former Sun sports writer Steve Silver, an amazing game highlights video by Christine Killimayer, a great photo gallery from Justin Bowen and a game story that not only integrates all of these different types of content, but also seamlessly integrates’s amazing database content for both teams and every player on each team.

The point of all of this is that Brewer helps epitomize one of our news organization’s stated goals, which is not to just publish on the web, but to be *of* the web. From the very top of our organization, new-media publishing is anything but an afterthought.

And Brewer helped reiterate all of this today … as well as showed again just how frickin’ webby he is.

All weekend, Ray has been all over the local recruiting scene and breaking stories left and right. And when I say Brewer has been breaking these stories, I don’t mean that he’s been beating our other local media competitors.

Ray understands that in the world of recruiting news, the other local newspaper and television stations in Las Vegas aren’t our competition. The competition are the other sites dedicated specifically to this type of information — like Rivals, Scout, etc…

Look at the story Ray broke today. What makes it so dang interesting to me from a new-media journalism perspective isn’t just that he had the story first (which he did), but how he integrated so many other online storytelling elements.

There are video clips. There are links to the players’ profile/stats pages. There are links to other relevant stories (picked by an actual journalist, not some haphazard automated process). And then you have Brewer right in the middle of the story’s reader comments becoming a part of the community dialogue.

This is how you pull together live/daily content with smart implementation of evergreen databases and practical use of other related content from your news organization’s archives.

And you don’t just do this for the big stories. You do it for every daily story where it can be accomplished.

He first published a version of this recruiting story at about 11:45 Sunday morning and continued chasing parts of it and updating it throughout the rest of the day, including a major update to the story by about 8:45 in the evening. By that time, the story had been elevated to the centerpiece on our homepage.

The ink was never dry.

What’s really cool is that this is just how Ray Brewer thinks. He did almost the exact same thing with another recruiting story yesterday — and that one had pretty big national interest.

My favorite part is that Ray did all of this on “internet time,” not on “what-is-my-deadline-to-get-this-in-tomorrow’s-newspaper?” time.

At the Sun, we know Ray is going to get beat on a story from time-to-time, but we also really like knowing he’s *our* high-school sports reporter.

And today sure felt like a text-book example of how to cover high-school recruiting in 2010 if you’re a local news organization that — as our publisher at the Lawrence Journal-World used to say — is driving with your brights on.


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Dad. Journalist. Nerd. Music lover. Baseball fan. Puckhead.