Publisher's column: Newspaper team wins 38 awards; ‘Reflections’ will publish this week

Stacked up against similarly sized newspapers, we were very competitive!

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Devlyn Brooks is the new publisher for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Perham Focus and Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Vicki Gerdes / Forum News Service

Our mom did her best to teach us kids that bragging was impolite, but I think she’d forgive me this one time!

Last week, the Minnesota Newspaper Association held its annual convention, and a part of the festivities is the association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Judges from other states are asked to review entries from the state’s newspapers, and then they award first, second and third place awards in categories from news and sports reporting, to photography, to advertising, to websites. Newspapers are judged against similar sized publications from around the state.

This year, our team received 38 awards – 32 at the Detroit Lakes Tribune, four at the Perham Focus and two at the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Stacked up against similarly sized newspapers, we were very competitive!

I know that if you asked our team about the awards, they’d humbly say that’s not why they do the work of community journalism. But, I do think it’s important to take a moment to recognize the talent that we have on our team that stretches along Highway 10. They may not like to toot their own horn, but I reserve the right to do it on their behalf!


There will be a story in each of our papers about the awards, and we’ll be publishing some ads to highlight our individual winners too. I’d be grateful if you could take a minute to celebrate with us these achievements! This is a special team of community journalists, and they deserve a pat on the back! Thank you!

'Reflections' publishes this week

I’m also pleased to share that the special “Reflections” pages I wrote about in December will be published in our three newspapers this week. There will be one “Reflections” page specific to Detroit Lakes that will publish on Saturday, and a shared “Reflections” page for the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, which will publish in both Thursday editions.

"Reflections" is a collection of memorials for people in our communities who passed away in 2022. Although the section won’t be a comprehensive list of all of the deaths that have occurred in our community during the past year, the “Reflections” Page will include the memorials which were ordered by loved ones or funeral homes when the deceased's obituaries were published in this newspaper. With the closing of the calendar year, the new “Reflections” page is meant to give families another chance to pay tribute to their loved ones who passed last year.

Local papers create community and preserve a loved one’s story for the history books. In fact, you could say that local newspapers are a first draft of history. And a big part of that history are the stories of the people who live in the community. That’s what makes our paper so special: We go about the business of chronicling the lives of local residents.

“Reflections” is our newest way to do just that. We hope that you find the section as special as 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 or at 218-844-1451.

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 for comments and story ideas.
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