"To have a successful team site you have to have great content and a great community," said The Insiders National Recruiting Editor Jamie Newberg. "That is what you will get when you combine the forces of Rocky Top and Gridscape. This site will be a super one that every Tennessee fan will absolutely love."
What it means to UT sports fans is the best of all worlds. In addition to the massive message board community that has been built over the last decade by Gridscape founder Chuck McCollum, Vol fans will also get the high-caliber content Rocky Top News magazine has been noted for delivering during its 12 years as an around-the-calendar publication.
RTN editor and award-winning writer Randy Moore brings a rich background as a professional journalist specializing in UT sports. Jeffery Stewart offers an 12-year newspaper sports-writing career highlighted by 29 AP awards for writing excellence. Over the last four years, Stewart has distinguished himself as a freelance magazine writer, and for his coverage of UT recruiting with Alliance Sports, Rivals and most recently Rockytop.com. Other stories and columns will come from an affiliation of writers and experts that regularly contribute to Rocky Top News, including, among others, such luminaries as legendary editor/author Ben Byrd and NFL scout Chris Landry.
In addition to the inside angle offered by this first-class collection of contributors, Vol fans will receive first-hand input from The Insiders cadre of recruiting analysts and talent evaluators, who will be available to answer inquiries on the premium message board, as well as, break commitments on the main page, and add recruiting updates to both the free and premium content sites.
The best news for those that appreciate the independent stature of Gridscape is: the name will remain the same, while the message boards will retain the current format that has been refined over the years. The spontaneous exchanges and free flow of information that has branded Gridscape as unique among its genre will not be altered or modified.
Likewise, the wealth of free information Rockytop.com readers have grown accustomed to receiving will continue, while premium content and message boards will be added to enhance the site's coverage. Premium content will include more in-depth analysis than is offered by any competing network or publication, in addition to recruiting features, updates and isolations on key personnel during practice sessions. An overview of UT football practice reports will remain free as will features on former Vols, game stories, opinion pieces, pregame match ups, predictions and a comprehensive collection of creative content.
The biggest difference visitors to Inside Tennessee will notice is better technology, greater speed and more unique content related to the Tennessee Volunteers than is offered on any other web site in cyberspace.
An announcement on Inside Tennessee's premium packages will be released soon and early speculation indicates prices will be in line, if not lower than, industry competitors.
"This partnership places Inside Tennessee in a position to provide the best of premium and free content," said Rockytop.com editor Jeffery Stewart. "Having personally monitored Gridscape over the years, I know it's the best place to take the pulse of the Vol Nation. Gridscape is a sport savvy cyber community where the discourse is largely intelligent and insightful. I believe this brainchild of Insiders CEO Jim Heckman will grow into a UT mega site that's second to none."
Stewart praised Inside Tennessee's editorial staff and offered optimism about the web site's future.
"Randy Moore is a 28-year veteran sportswriter who served five years as the Knoxville Journal's primary beat writer of the Vols, before taking over as editor at Rocky Top News. Add the timeless observations of the revered Ben Byrd along with our other outstanding contributors, and it's easy to see that we have a potent line-up of proven professionals. The network's technical support, extensive data base and impressive array of recruiting experts pushes IT to the top of the UT heap, but we're aiming for the top of the college heap. Vol fans expect the best and we're going to do our dead-level best to give it to them. Inside Tennessee is a dream come true for writers that love covering the Vols and for the readers that are proud to support them. I'm honored to be a part of it and very excited about our future."
Like a Big Orange fireball cresting over the cyber horizon, a bright, new day is dawning on the coverage of Tennessee athletics.