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Publisher's column: One big team publishing three community newspapers

The goal is to think and act like one large team, all of whom have a hand in producing three quality local community newspapers. Admittedly, I am biased, but I believe that we have come a long way in our progress. To me, the positive results are evident every week in our printed newspapers, our websites and the special sections we produce.

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
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Since coming aboard as publisher of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal late last summer, the team and I have aimed to restructure how we do our everyday work.

The goal is to think and act like one large team, all of whom have a hand in producing three quality local community newspapers. Admittedly, I am biased, but I believe that we have come a long way in our progress. To me, the positive results are evident every week in our printed newspapers, our websites and the special sections we produce.

Certainly, this is a challenging effort at times. This means each of us has a stake in what is happening in each of the communities we serve, whether that means a reporter finding themselves covering a city council meeting in a town they are unfamiliar with, or one of our sales consultants working with a new business in a new town for the first time.

There are a lot of moving parts, and each member of our team works hard to communicate and coordinate with the others throughout the week so that each of our communities feel they are receiving our best work. No, it’s not always easy, and we know it’s still a work in progress.

But, eventually, the goal is to have a larger team that is more versatile and knowledgeable about all of the communities we serve so that we are a more competent team with more capabilities than we were before acting as three independent publications. We are committed to this transformation over the long-term so that we can continue to serve Detroit Lakes, Perham, Wadena and many points in between.

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A lot of this work has been taking place behind the scenes, out of view of the public. But this new approach will be more evident in the coming weeks as we see the impact of Michael Johnson, our former award-winning editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal, accepting a new position to become editor of Agweek, another Forum Communications Co.-owned publication.

Michael spent his last day as editor last week before moving onto his next exciting gig.

We are actively looking to hire someone into Michael’s position, but in the meanwhile myself and many others from the newsroom team will be covering stories in Wadena. You may see a new reporter at a city council or school board meeting. Or you might see me or another reporter on our team at a community event, taking photos and doing interviews. So, expect to see a lot of new faces who’ll be working just as hard as ever to bring the news to our loyal Pioneer Journal readers.

It’s no secret that we are into a new age in community journalism, a time when we are required to work smarter, collaborate more and utilize technology where it benefits us. But this doesn’t mean our commitment to any one of our communities is any less. It just means we are learning new ways to sell and report and support our communities!

So, while we’re working hard to find another top-notch journalist to join our team to help us cover Wadena, you can consider me your interim editor. And I’ll be backed up by a number of experienced and talented journalists to help me.

Meanwhile, if you have a story idea that you want to share with us, please use my contact details you can find below. Or if you happen to have a photo or some video of a local event you’d be willing to share with us, you can send it to my email below as well.

Thank you again for your continued support of our local newspapers! It is a pleasure to work for communities that still value the work we 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
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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