DME Media Day a big success

Posted 7/28/19

High school football in Walker County took centerstage on Wednesday via the media day event our newspaper sponsored.The Southern Orthopedic/DME PrepZone 2019 Media Day was held at Five Loaves Bakery …

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DME Media Day a big success


High school football in Walker County took centerstage on Wednesday via the media day event our newspaper sponsored.

The Southern Orthopedic/DME PrepZone 2019 Media Day was held at Five Loaves Bakery & Cafe, and it highlighted coaches and players from every school in Walker County. (The videos from that event can still be seen on our Facebook and YouTube pages, if you missed seeing them live.) It was a huge success, and I’m going to spend a little time bragging on the people who made it possible.

While I get to be the “face” of our newspaper more times than not, the credit for the great things going on at and produced by the Daily Mountain Eagle needs to be pointed in many directions.

Jake Aaron, DME advertising director, and Malarie Brakefield, DME graphic artist, spent the good portion of three days setting up the stage area and technical equipment surrounding it at media day. These two employees always go above and beyond on special projects at the DME, whether it be putting together the best looking magazine in the state or editing the video interviews that we now produce on a weekly basis. All things audio/video that happened at Media Day were thanks to their hard work.

The event might could have happened without them, but it wouldn’t have looked or sounded nearly as good. This was our third annual Media Day, and it is a far cry from the inaugural event that was filmed exclusively by my phone with much of the camerawork done by my 14-year-old son at the time. The product that we put out last week might not be exactly ESPN, but it isn’t too far off.

The Daily Mountain Eagle sports staff of Johnathan Bentley, Brian Hale and newcomer Jeffery Winborne also did an outstanding job. Bentley and Hale asked great questions that helped to keep the interviews interesting. Much of the information that came out at Media Day will be found in the 2019 DME PrepZone Playbook that will be released on Aug. 22. That product is a 70-page, glossy, full color magazine that previews the high school football teams in Walker County. Winborne, our “digital guy” as I like to call him, has a wealth of sports knowledge. He worked behind the scenes for much of the event on Wednesday, but he has added a new dynamic to our upcoming football coverage.

A special member of our sports staff should also be thanked for his hard work, and that person is Zak McCullar. Our 10-year-old sports correspondent has stolen a little shine from the older sports journalists each of the past two years with his great questions. Zak spends much time before the event studying each team and prepping for his chance to be in the spotlight asking questions.

The staff at Five Loaves Bakery & Cafe also deserves a big “thank you.” The DME basically took over their building on Wednesday. They provided food and drinks for the coaches, players and journalists. Kelly Rigsby and her staff always do a great job and make some of the best food around. Be sure to contact them for any event or catering needs. I like to consider myself to be their favorite customer, but in reality, I’m just glad that they put up with me. 

The real stars of our Media Day event as always are the coaches and players from our area schools. They are the reason that we started doing this event, and they always bring a lot of energy to the day and represent their schools well. Even with five new coaches in the county this year, they all stepped up and did everything asked of them to make our event as good as it could be.

A few of the players this year seemed to be a little nervous, but maybe that was just a statement as to how first-class Media Day was for 2019. The day is designed to give student athletes a chance to interact with the media and be broadcast live to help them with their communication skills, which is something that could be invaluable for them in the coming years.

I’m sure there are many others that need to be thanked, and I have left someone off this list. If I did, I’m sorry and I’m certainly thankful for your contributions. I’ve had personal texts from just about every coach in the area thanking us for shining a spotlight on our schools and athletes. I think that’s our job. We spotlight Walker County, and we spotlight it better than anyone else. My team and I will keep working hard to do that on every level. That is our mission statement. 

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or