A seasoned journalist with more than 10 years of newsroom
experience under his belt joins the Dispatch as the newspaper’s
A seasoned journalist with more than 10 years of newsroom experience under his belt joins the Dispatch as the newspaper’s city editor.
Jon Perez, 35, joined the Dispatch staff during one of most festive times of the year: the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Getting to know the city through the eyes of the festival gave him a good idea of what was in store.
“I was glad that I came in at that time,” Perez said. “I like being thrown in the fire to see how well I can produce in such a big event as the Gilroy Garlic Festival.”
Perez graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. An internship reporting on crime and covering sports for the San Jose Mercury News preceded positions as a page designer at the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore., and the Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
Perez moved his family to Colorado when he landed a job at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver in 2004 and, for the next five years, he performed a variety of duties, from online editing to designing the front page for a newspaper with a readership of up to 500,000.
When the Rocky Mountain News closed business operations and shut its doors in 2009, Perez returned to San Jose with his wife and two young daughters and tried his hand as a poker floorman and a food vendor, only to be reminded that his true passion was in journalism.
“I’ve been a journalist since 1993,” he said. “It took me two jobs I really didn’t like to realize I was denying what I was meant to do.”
Executive Editor Mark Derry said Perez’s range of experience earned him the job.
“Jon’s a thoughtful, young journalist with solid newsroom experience who knows a good story and how to tell it,” Derry said. “He’s well versed in the importance of web news delivery and his background in design and his leadership capabilities will translate into a better product for our readers.”
With a strong background in reporting and designing, Perez said he was eager to bring his love for journalism to his new job in Gilroy.
“The Dispatch does a good job of reporting hard news,” Perez said. “I want to continue that, but at the same time, take a look at revamping how we’re perceived online.”
After working at news organizations of varying sizes, Perez said he was excited to try his hand at a community paper.
“What drew me in is that we’re such an integral part of the community,” he said. “I want to bring more of a face to what the City of Gilroy is. I want to tell the stories of people that normally don’t get told.”