Perry: Fight continues for newspaper journalism

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

You have likely come across recent articles or editorials or advertisements that remind our communities to “support journalism.”

Usually, that means “financial support,” and it comes in the form of subscriptions, from readers like you. Or from advertisements that we sell to businesses to best reach their audience. Or, it is someone paying to publish an obituary or classifieds note.

This will come as no revelation, but I believe strongly in “supporting journalism.”

Today, I want to make the case, more specifically, for supporting this very product you are reading right now.

I came to the Forum Communications Company just one year and one month ago, on June 3, 2019.


This was after spending more than two decades with a different newspaper company. Those of you who are the long-timers at your shops or businesses know that time and experience are hard to beat: I knew my old company, and they knew me. I understood the goals, I knew which corporate emails to answer (and which to ignore!) and I was “all in.”

In early 2019, after more than 100 years, that company sold all of its newspapers, and got out of the business of journalism altogether. I stuck around a bit for the new owners, but it just wasn't a good fit for me.

Which brings me to June 3, 2019. New company, new co-workers, new values. And a new fit.

Having watched other strategies, and being an outsider to this company, I can say that Forum Communications is doing the right things to remain relevant and vital to its communities and customers.

They have been investing in their newsrooms. They have been developing more content on more platforms for their customers. They have been unafraid to adapt, change -- or throw out the things that just weren’t working anymore.

With all of those new ideas and changes, I am taking on a new role in the company. As Forum News Service Editor I will be working to provide great content to all of our papers. I will no longer be the editor of the Perham Focus after this weekend, as I start my new gig July 6. But I am excited to look at our local newspapers in a different way.

People like to say that “newspapers are dying,” and they cite all sorts of reasons, real or imagined.

What our customers don’t always hear is how their local newspaper and local newspaper company are fighting against that fate. Taking the “experimental medicine,” as it were.


It won't be easy, but quality journalism and factual reporting need all the help they can get in 2020.

Your support of the Perham Focus is taken seriously here. We thank you, and we will continue to fight to be sure a great town has a great source of news, advertising and information for years to come.

Editor J.J. Perry can be reached at , or follow @jjperry on Twitter.

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