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Press Clippings: Publishing today requires a multiplatform focus

We are part of The Trust Project.

Recently, after a Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce event, I had a wonderful conversation with a loyal reader of one of our publications. A voracious and enthusiastic reader of both the Detroit Lakes Tribune and other publications.

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

It was an illuminating conversation, reminding me that many readers may find our online operation more mysterious than the production of our printed newspapers because so much of our digital effort takes place behind the scenes.
This may go without saying, but each of our publications – the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal – maintains a robust website where we publish new content every day. And so, while we still pride ourselves on the quality printed newspapers we publish and distribute each week, we simultaneously employ a different strategy to keep our readers informed daily through our websites.

We know that different readers have different needs, and we strive to reach them where they are at, be that in print, through our websites or even on social media platforms. That is what it is like to be in the community newspaper business in 2022!

For those who might not know as much about our websites, while each of our three sites is operated independently, there are features and content that are similar on all three.

For instance, just as we publish content in our printed newspapers that is of importance across our three markets, we do so as well on our website. But how that content appears on our sites can differ. For instance, a story that is of extreme importance to, say Wadena, may be of only tangential importance to Perham or Detroit Lakes. And so where that story publishes on our websites may differ. Does the same content publish on more than one site? Sure. But we also make judgments about how prominently it publishes on a site, based on the needs of each market.

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Similarly, if you frequent one of our three websites, you’ll notice at the top of the site, on the right hand side, there is a newsticker that contains the latest content produced from all across the Forum Communications Co. properties. This feature offers our reader a great value in that we collect on one site, not only the news that impacts your community, but also the news from around the region.

In fact, we take this benefit one step further: All readers who have digital subscriptions to the Tribune, Focus or Pioneer Journal, also receive free access to all the other Forum Communications news sites across the Upper Midwest. You want to know what’s happening in Mitchell, S.D., or Dickinson, N.D., or Duluth, Minn.? You can, thanks to a subscription to one of our sites! Now how’s that for an incentive!

Readers of our websites also will notice that they may get their news delivered even faster than what they see in print. We work very hard to produce the most timely content we can for our printed publications, but because they require printing, this of course means that there is a production process. And with a production process comes deadlines. Meaning that, sometimes despite our best efforts, we cannot get something in the printed paper due to how early we need to submit our pages for printing. That’s the nature of creating a physical newspaper.

However, you can count that we strive very hard to keep our websites current with as much developing news as possible. Our editors and reporters work hard to publish stories about events and breaking news as fast as possible. This means news stories might break online in the mornings, in the evenings or even over weekends and holidays. This effort provides a great value to our community because we now can publish the news in a 24/7 manner.

Our websites allow us to provide news coverage of meetings or public safety issues soon after they take place. In addition, you also can find up-to-date sports stories and recaps from your favorite teams, almost in real time, on our websites.

Now, at this point, if you’re thinking to yourself, “Hold on there! I really enjoy reading my printed local newspaper!” … please know that we are kindred spirits! … I still very much enjoy holding a paper in my hand, folding it into quarters sometimes to more easily read it with my coffee, or even pulling out a section to share with someone. I enjoy the tactile experience of a newspaper!

However, I also have to admit that I enjoy using news websites in an entirely different fashion. Being a sports fan, I want the most up-to-date information possible about my favorite sports teams, and I find that content on the web. Just like many of you do, I imagine. So I am equally supportive of our team’s efforts on the Tribune, Focus and Pioneer Journal’s websites.

I also could fill another entire column about the digital opportunities our websites provide for our business partners trying to reach customers in our communities, as well as across the internet! … So, as a matter of fact, look for that in an upcoming publishers column too!

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The bottom line is that we work hard to meet our readers where they are at. Whether you love the feel of holding a newspaper in your hands or you want the convenience of pulling up the latest high school sports score on your phone, we strive to provide you with compelling content that keeps you informed about your community

Thank you for reading on whatever platform you prefer!

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.

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.
What to read next
You will find inserted into today’s Perham Focus a really important, premium magazine called the “Fall Home Magazine,” an elegant, 40-plus page glossy magazine that will be inserted into all three of our publications, the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal.