Perry: Grants, greetings and saluting the greats

J.J. Perry column mug
J.J. Perry, Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus editor

One could be forgiven for thinking that these are “slow news days” for the newspaper.

After all, the cancellation of in-person school, closing of most businesses and restaurants, suspension of all events and sports, and a state order requiring everyone required to stay at home because of COVID-19 means there doesn’t seem to be much happening.

However, we are about as busy as we could want to be at the Tribune.

Let me catch you up today on several things happening at your newspaper:

THE ESSENTIALS: Today, we launched a multi-story series called “The Essentials.” Each story will catch up with a local worker whose job or industry has been deemed an “essential business” by the state of Minnesota, meaning these folks have been going to work throughout the pandemic.


They include health care professionals (obviously), but also service station employees, law enforcement, child care providers and several more.

One of the categories we have not planned to cover -- yet -- is the news media. Since Day 1 of the stay-at-home order, Minnesota’s news organizations have been considered essential. Our news staff, for instance, has not missed a day of reporting on our community. The way we do this work might be a little different than we did two months ago, but the mission is the same.

If you did not realize that the news staff has been making papers without being in the same room at the same time for weeks, then we have done our job.

But just because it is not apparent, doesn't mean we aren't feeling the same pinch that so many other businesses are, whether designated essential or not.

While we are doing a lot of work to write about the hardships facing our local businesses, remember the newspaper is not immune to those same pressures.

LAKE AREA PRESS: For instance, because of a slowdown in advertising support due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the free Lake Area Press shopper will go on hiatus after this weekend’s issue. It is one of several shopper publications that are being paused around the region.

The suspension will last 120 days, at which time Detroit Lakes Newspapers will revisit the viability of those publications.

CELEBRATING HEROES: This past weekend, we featured a story on Detroit Lakes’ own Dave Harman, the first in a series of “Hero” stories during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Harman’s story debuted on and in the May 3 Tribune, but his story also was published in our sister newspapers and websites around Minnesota, North Dakota and elsewhere.

Harman was nominated as a “Hero” by another community member. Maybe you have seen the callouts in the paper to share your hero. This is one of those stories.

Over the coming weeks, you will meet more heroes, nominated by residents in communities around the upper midwest.

Essentials, Heroes … whetever you call them, they are our friends and neighbors who are doing good things at a critical time.

If you have a hero you would like to nominate, email .

$1 MILLON COMMUNITY COMMITMENT GRANT: This is a really amazing venture launched by our parent company, Forum Communications Company.

We know that the local businesses in our markets are hurting because of the pandemic (see the note about advertising above). In response, Forum Communications launched on May 1 a matching grant program aimed at helping businesses and nonprofits better market to and reach customers.

During May, June and July, the $1 Million Community Commitment Grant will allow businesses and nonprofits to leverage their advertising dollars with a matching commitment from Forum Communications.


Dollar-for-dollar matching grants can be for a minimum of $250 or a maximum of $10,000 each of those three months, according to information provided by the company. The matching funds can be used toward print or digital advertising in more than 40 local Forum Communications newspapers or websites.

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit .

GREETINGS: During this time of social distancing and self-quarantining, folks may be looking for new and creative ways to reach out and connect.

This week, we are launching COVID Greetings and Graduation Greetings. These are relatively inexpensive messages that can be sent using the Detroit Lakes Tribune and

It is built on the same platform as our new arrivals, wedding and engagement announcements, or retirements and anniversaries.

If you want to send a message of encouragement to a friend you can’t visit, or say congrats to a graduating member of the Class of 2020, visit and click on “Place a Milestone” to get started.

Contact Editor J.J. Perry at 218-844-1466, by email at or, or follow @jjperry on Twitter.

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