Readers of the Perry Chief will notice a new byline in this week’s edition as the editorial leadership of the paper passes from the capable hands of longtime Chief Editor Juli Probasco-Sowers to former Perry resident and Perry High School graduate Jim Caufield. Probasco-Sowers is taking a teaching position in the communications department of Grand View University in Des Moines, while Caufield, after nearly 20 years as a teacher, will take on the Chief duties. Caufield, along with his sister, Ann, and brother, Michael, moved to Perry in 1965 with his mother, Elizabeth Downey Caufield, longtime Perry public school teacher. He graduated from PHS in 1977, having worked two years in the pressroom of the Perry Daily Chief, and he went on to study journalism at Iowa State University, holding a reporting internship under Daily Chief Editor John Moe in the summer of 1979. In 1982 Caufield moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in a variety of jobs, from driving a cab and managing a thrift store to working as a sub-librarian at Acres of Books in Long Beach, the largest used bookshop west of the Alleghenies. He went to graduate school later in life, earning a doctorate in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and held various teaching posts at colleges and universities around Southern California during the past 15 years, including UCLA, the University of California, Riverside, Loyola Marymount University and American Jewish University. Caufield said he is happy to be back in Perry. "Juli has done a great job at the Chief," he said, "and it’s funny to think we’re exchanging careers, but there’s always been a pretty smooth path between journalism and the academy." He said things have changed a lot at the Chief since he worked there in the 1970s. "Computers and the internet have vastly changed the way we do things in the pressroom and the newsroom both, and that goes not just for the Chief but for the whole newspaper industry." Caufield said ownership consolidation and the loss of advertising dollars to digital media have led to layoffs and closures in the industry. "But one thing that hasn’t changed and won’t change," Caufield said, "is the Chief’s core mission of informing and entertaining out readers, and that doesn’t mean only readers in Perry or Dallas County but our online readers, too, who are scattered all over the country and the world." Chief Publisher Pat Snyder said she is happy to have Caufield join the staff. "When looking for a new editor I wanted someone who cares about Perry, is interested in developing a great paper and wants to be involved in the community," Snyder said. "Once I met Jim, I knew he would be a perfect fit for the position." Caufield said he encourages readers to send him story ideas and suggestions, whether by email to or by posting to the Perry Chief’s online edition or to its Facebook page.