ValleyoftheSuns adds ace college reporter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — We here at ValleyoftheSuns are excited to announce that we have added ASU junior Tyler Lockman to our staff for the 2009-10 season. Lockman signed a one-year contract with a writer option for a second year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, as per site policy.

Lockman, a native of a Chicago suburb, has spent more than a year interning at the Arizona Republic and is looking forward to this new challenge.

“I am so excited to join the ValleyoftheSuns team,” Lockman said in a press release. “Sports writing is my passion, so joining was an easy decision. I’m happy to be on board with an outstanding outlet dedicated to providing the best coverage possible.”

Lockman has covered a variety of sports in his young career, including high school football, basketball, soccer and softball. He has also covered pro golf and ASU athletics and written a few NBA and NFL items.

He was born and raised on the Bulls dynasty, choosing Scottie Pippen as his favorite player, but he was briefly obsessed with the Suns Gorilla during his childhood as a result of a T-shirt from his grandmother who lived in Phoenix.

Lockman, a 4.0 student and a winner of the Bobby Beynon Memorial Scholarship from the Cronkite School for sports journalism, has also spent time with, KASC The Blaze 1260 AM, and The Gateway Tour. Hopefully he will provide a negative contrast to the sometimes homeristic writing we feature.

As opposed to last season when I was essentially a one-man band with a couple of guest contributions, ValleyoftheSuns now boasts a staff of three reporters (Mike Schmitz, a current Arizona Daily Wildcat reporter is the other, and no for the hundredth time, we’re not the same person).

According to sources close to the team, ValleyoftheSuns is also speaking with the agent of a female correspondent who has interned at Fox Sports AZ and a few local TV stations to head our video and promotions department. If there is to be any movement on this front it would likely occur around her expected December graduation from ASU, making her a potential midseason acquisition so to speak.

Today is also a special day because one year ago today (OK, one year ago the Sunday before the season started to be exact), I came up with the name “ValleyoftheSuns” while riffing with some forming Daily Wildcat colleagues in my old newsroom during Homecoming weekend last year. That afternoon I bought the domain name, and the next day was on the air.

I really didn’t know what to expect in that first year. I could see it both failing miserably or being wildly successful, but at the time it was kind of a way to stay in journalism while looking for my next job after ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz requested I start a Suns blog to join an ESPN-affiliated network that had yet to be founded.

Since then, ValleyoftheSuns has officially joined the TrueHoop Network, gotten credentialed to a good number of Suns games and has started to develop a video and social media presence.

We have come so far in one short year, but we still have so far yet to go to reach the heights I hope this site reaches.

With a full staff, we will now be able to provide more analytical pieces and fun features, whereas last year at times I got bogged down by recaps and previews. With the increased level of access, we’ll know what’s going on with the team more and be able to provide a much better perspective of what’s actually going on.

The journalism world is changing, as we get set to begin the Suns’ first official season in essentially a one-paper town.

ValleyoftheSuns strives to become a new form of journalism, blending old school reporting practices with new school video, social media and style just like the Suns plan to blend old school vets like Nash and Hill with a team full of kids.

Stay tuned to ValleyoftheSuns the next few days for a slew of season preview coverage.

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