So, we're not trying to toot our own horn (maybe a little), but the Perham Focus did pretty darn well this year in terms of bringing home some hardware from the Minnesota Newspaper Association Minnesota Better Newspaper Contest. We brought home 10 state awards, far more than what we've taken home in the past. And for a small town newspaper that has seen some personnel turnover as well as a physical office move across town, we're pretty proud of that. We are little, but we do our best to be fierce.

But before we pat ourselves on the back too much, let us be very clear-this newspaper is about you. You, dear readers, are behind everything we do. It is your stories we tell, from how local government decisions will impact you to what breaking news just happened in your backyard to how many tiny, amazing little tractors you've managed to construct in your retirement years. (That was in last week's paper, and we loved it.) In fact, we always love getting story ideas from you. There are very few times when somebody has called or emailed or stopped by with an idea where we said, "Eh, nah, we can't do anything on that..." We may not always have somebody available to take photos of every event happening around town, but then we always encourage people to still send in any photos they take because even if we can't always be there to take them, we love publishing them. So many more people have cameras now because of their phones, and therefore there is a tremendous opportunity for you all to get different little items into this newspaper. And don't be shy. This isn't about tooting your own horns, either...(maybe a little)... This is also about history-keeping. We are documenting life in Perham as we all go, and you, our friends, are a part of that living history. Everybody has a story, including you. Heck, you may even be one of our award-winning stories for next year!

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Look, we know there seems to be a growing animosity for media. We get that more than anybody. But "media" is such a big, blanketed word that cannot even begin to encompass all that fall under the umbrella. We are not the national media, and you, dear readers, are not the characters in the national news. If we do this right, we can be aware of what's happening on the larger stages while making sure our homefront is safe, healthy and as happy as possible. We can work together as we would small town Minnesotans and not let national narratives form our opinions about others for us. And we know that there are whispers about our newspaper being owned by an out of town company or that some of our employees don't live in town, but the fact is, that's never mattered. This isn't our newspaper, it's yours. It's your history, your communication, your information, your advertisements...we just work here. And we promise, we will do everything in our power to do a good job for you.