"Every school year I have people tell me they take our newspaper specifically for the prep sports," said Kevin Brown, The Herald's sports editor.
Likewise, the high school sports page on HeraldNet.com consistently ranks among the most popular on the website.
Starting next week, when the 2012 high school football season kicks off, prep sports fans can expect to find even more coverage.
Over the past few months, Web Editor Doug Parry and Prep Editor Aaron Swaney have been working to enhance The Herald's coverage both online and in print.
Here's what to look for:
• A Game of the Week poll on HeraldNet.com. The poll, to be used during the football and basketball seasons, allows readers to help determine what games the newspaper covers on Friday nights. "We'll put the poll up on a Monday and let (readers) vote through Wednesday or Thursday," Swaney said.
• A weekly podcast featuring Swaney and The Herald's prep writers, David Krueger and Aaron Lommers. They will discuss the latest news and preview upcoming games. The podcasts will be available on HeraldNet.com or through iTunes.
• A Sunday prep page will be added to the prep page already published on Tuesdays. The Sunday page will cover trends in high school athletics and profile individual athletes. The Tuesday page will be used to highlight teams and announce the Athletes of the Week.
• An Athlete of the Week poll on HeraldNet.com. After the Athletes of the Week in each sport are announced on Tuesday, readers will be able to go online and select the overall athlete of the week, Swaney said.
• Photo galleries and photo essays. Galleries will be available after each prep football game The Herald shoots, and the newspaper's award-winning photographers will frequently contribute photo essays to the Sunday prep page,
• Expanded coverage of Friday night football. Swaney said plans are in the works to increase the number of writers covering games and to add video from select games to the website.
• An improved high school football page on HeraldNet.com. "We'll have a one-stop place to find stories, photos, stats, standings and everything else," Parry said.
• A greater emphasis on social media interaction, using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This will include live blogging from events by Herald writers. Readers also will be encouraged to submit photos from games at www.heraldnet.com/yourphotos.
• Also in the works are improvements to The Herald's mobile site to make access to prep coverage more user friendly. "We know that a lot of the audience for high school sports is on mobile devices," Parry said. "We want people to be able to find all the content in one place in a way that makes sense and is easy to navigate on mobile devices. We also want make it easy for people to interact with our reporters and with each other through our site.
"I think we already had the best high school sports website in the area," Parry added, "and this will give people even more reasons to visit our site, especially on game nights."
Each week, Here at the Herald provides an inside peek at the newspaper. Is there something you would like to know? Email executive editor Neal Pattison at email@example.com.
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