PERRY, OKLAHOMA — She comes in pretty early. Gloria Brown is the longtime managing editor of the Perry Daily Journal.
She follows in the footsteps of reporters who taught her the trade.
Gloria started as a proofreader here more than 40 years ago. “And then I just evolved,” she sighs.
Welcome to the smallest town in Oklahoma that still supports a daily newspaper.
While the mayor, Chuck Hall, is in with Gloria discussing a new hotel tax we took a look around the newsroom.
That’s Kyle Smith working on the sports section. Sue Scholz is copy editor and the other news reporter at the PDJ.
“Perry doesn’t have a lot of really hard news,” says Sue. “So it’s pretty easy to plan.”
It’s a small operation.
Everybody wears at least one hat, just like a lot of other folks throughout the town’s history who built Perry up from a spot on the prairie to the Noble County seat.
The daily paper still has readers who rely on it to keep them up to date.
Editor Brown says, “The community takes ownership in it and they love getting their names in the paper.”
Gloria has a short commute to work. She can see her bedroom window from her office.
But she still makes the rounds at age 71.
On this morning she has a quick appointment with new city manager Mary Rupp.
Then she angles on over to the jail to check in with Sheriff Charlie Hanger.
Gloria even manages a quick visit with her grandkids in their third grade classroom.
There’s a trust here between reporter and subject that only comes with decades long relationships.
Brown agrees, “I think one thing that will be missed when I’m not here any longer is the fact that I know connections.”
The Perry presses don’t run.
The journal gets its printing in Enid now.
The old layout tables have given way to computer screens. The darkroom is a storage closet.
People everywhere get their news in different ways, thanks to modern times, but trusting what you read still means a lot.
The long line of writers at the PDJ have always known that.