Perry: We are looking for our next great Perham reporter

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

Talent. Curiosity. A willingness to learn.

And a great sense of humor.

Traits any great journalist will have in spades.

That might be especially true for our Perham Focus reporter.

Carter Jones displayed those qualities since he came on board at the Focus last year. And as we say goodbye to him as he starts his next adventure, we can't overlook the mark Carter made on this newspaper.


The challenge, now, is to find someone who has all of those great-journalist qualities, and can put their stamp on the Focus, just like Carter and all of our staff have done through the years.

And this is a chance to do even better, as we hire our next great reporter.

That’s not a knock on any journalist who has ever worked here at the Focus. But it should always be the goal to take what we’ve learned, what we’ve built -- and then do better.

I try to remember that the Perham Focus or Detroit Lakes Tribune are not "my papers"; they belong to the communities they serve. We are but caretakers of a legacy that took a century to build. It is mission critical that we continue to make the Focus (and an essential piece of life in Perham and Otter Tail County.

The old adage to "leave the place better than we found it" rings true; we want our next great reporter to raise the bar that has been set, so future generations of Focus reporters always know what they have to do.

But let's start with the basics: Talent. Curiosity. A willingness to learn. And a great sense of humor -- because things will inevitably go awry, and you just have to keep moving forward.

To that end, we have some really great candidates already, and hope to be making some decisions soon.

But we still have websites and newspapers to publish.


My short-term plan is to put some of our Detroit Lakes Tribune reporters to work in Perham (some of those names will be familiar to you) but, primarily, Desiree Bauer. She is our newest reporting addition in DL, and a Frazee resident. She is ready to help pick up the slack.

Meanwhile, you can still get in contact with us. You can always email me at, or call me at 218-844-1466.

The Focus office will be open as usual, though Sports Editor Jason Groth might be the more regular newsroom face there over the next few weeks.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me.

Welcome Rebecca

We are happy to announce that we have hired a new reporter who will split her time covering the news for Perham and our sister-paper, the Wadena Pioneer Journal.

Rebecca Mitchell started Monday, Nov. 4, and will be working from the Wadena office.

Rebecca graduated in the spring with a bachelor of arts in journalism and minors in sociology and Bible from Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. She worked on her school's newspaper as a writer and photographer, eventually being named managing editor.

Her work history includes several internships in the media, as well as in nonprofits.


She most recently was living in Austin, Texas.

Rebecca does have family ties to Minnesota and knows that it gets cold and snowy here.

We hope you all get a chance to meet her. In the meanwhile, her primary email is, and she can be reached by phone at 218-631-2561, Ext. 6107.

Related Topics: PERHAM
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