ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Publisher's column: Community journalism is not 'the media'

I know most people tend to generalize when they speak about the “media.” It’s really just human nature. But I can assure you that working for the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal is nothing like working at larger media organizations.

Devlyn Brooks.png
Devlyn Brooks is the new publisher for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Perham Focus and Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Vicki Gerdes / Forum News Service
We are part of The Trust Project.

Newspapering in a local community is a whole different ball game than being on staff at a larger regional or urban media organization.

I know most people tend to generalize when they speak about the “media.” It’s really just human nature. But I can assure you that working for the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal is nothing like working at larger media organizations.

Out here, the folks selling our advertising and writing and taking photos for our publications or websites are living the community journalism life. It’s not a job, punching in and out for us. Our team is shopping in our communities; going to concerts in our communities; and volunteering in our communities. They pay the same local taxes, and are invested in the same decisions that local governments make, as you are.

And we never, ever get to hide behind our anonymity. Our work is on display each and every day, and then when we’re done for the day, we go live among the people whom we write about, whom we sell advertising solutions to and whom we do business with.

I speak openly about considering community newspapering a calling unto itself. In this line of work, you really have to want to be on staff because you care. Why else would you live a life in such a small fishbowl?

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s been popular in recent years to bash the “media,” and I do understand from where a lot of that vehemence comes. Frankly, the largest of the media organizations in the country do a disservice to the thousands of us working in the trenches here in local communities. In the rush to build the largest audience possible, our cable news outlets have jettisoned much regard for journalism ethics.

And the largest newspaper companies in the country have slashed investment in the publications in many of their markets, often leaving them as shells of their former selves.

And all of this has taken place during a historically critical period of our country. No wonder why so many consumers give such low approval ratings to the “media!”

But, if you haven’t picked up a copy of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus or Wadena Pioneer Journal in a while, or if you haven’t checked out our websites, I’d encourage you to take another look at the work we do, right here in your backyard.

This sales team and the newsroom that is dedicated to publishing your local news and advertising is one of the best I’ve worked with in my 30 years in journalism. We have many team members who have spent years working in these communities, building relationships, working with business partners and documenting the first draft of history taking place every day. And the newer team members on staff are here because they want to be.

You can’t have a better recipe for a community journalism team!

A community newspaper is part of the mix of institutions that keep a community strong. Just go ask anyone who lives in a community where their local newspaper was shut down. They can share a few horror stories of what happens after the local paper closes. This isn’t a scare tactic though!

I just am passionate about what we do, and would like to invite anyone who hasn’t given our publications a look in some time to do so. I think you’ll find a lot to like!

ADVERTISEMENT

This team is a committed, caring and experienced team of news and sales professionals. And we’re here for the long haul.

What do you say? How about subscribing to support a team that cares as much about your community … as you do!

(Devlyn Brooks is the publisher of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, and their associated websites. He can be reached at dbrooks@dlnewspapers.com or at 218-844-1451)

Related Topics: COMMENTARY
What to read next
"We need adopters," says Tessa Fenu, HSL's fundraising coordinator and a frequent volunteer at its animal shelter, located just off Highway 59, north of Detroit Lakes. The shelter itself has a maximum capacity of 25 cats and 25 dogs, and while many are also housed by foster families in the area, HSL still has a very long waiting list for surrendering animals.
Local author donates profits from book to help financially struggling families.
When Detroit Mountain Recreation Area opened its doors on Friday, Nov. 25 for the start of its winter season, there was a new face in the front office: Mark Knutson, whom many in this area know as the executive director of the Fargo Marathon, has taken over general manager duties at the mountain from Jeff Staley, who had held the position since 2014.
The suspect, who lived in Detroit Lakes at the time, sold 59 grams of meth to the confidential reliable informant, according to the criminal complaint.