Bidding Farewell To The Bison Illustrated Editor

Spotlight Fargo Bison Illustrated May 19

After more than five years of working with Spotlight Media, Bison Illustrated Editor Joe Kerlin is leaving Fargo to pursue different opportunities. While everyone at Spotlight Media will miss him, we wish him nothing but the best for his future endeavors.

“Joe has created a fantastic reputation during his time with Bison Illustrated,” said Andrew Jason, Spotlight Media’s Editorial Director. “Because of Joe’s tenacious approach to creating great content, the magazine has created some truly compelling storytelling. We will miss him greatly.”

We sat down with Joe for one final Q&A to reflect on his time here at Spotlight Media and Bison Illustrated.

When did you start at Spotlight Media?

I started in January 2013 as an intern. It was actually the day I came in for an interview. I wore a nice shirt and maybe even a tie. [Former General Manager] Brent Tehven sat me down in the office with Andrew hanging out beside him. The only question I remember him asking me was: ‘Do you like the Bison?’ I said, ‘yeah, I’ve been to all the football games over the past two seasons. He hired me on the spot. I talked to [Publisher] Mike [Dragosavich] briefly after that meeting, and they showed me around. They sat me next to the designers and told me to start writing game recaps about the football season for Spotlight’s first-ever Championship Issue.

What’s been your favorite part about working for Spotlight Media and Bison Illustrated?

Where do I start? My favorite part has been interacting with current and former student-athletes. They have been so good to us over at the magazine and have been generous with their time. They all preach the same thing about Bison Pride and how important the culture is to success. I could see how for readers or other people in media that message could get dragged out and boring, but student-athletes talk about culture and Bison Pride because it’s so instrumental in their success. Now that I’ve been here for more than five years, it’s been fun to see student-athletes grow into bigger roles for their programs and then move on to the real world and begin their life as adults in the working world.

Spotlight Media team celebrated Joe’s hard work and wished him the best luck with his future adventure

What are some of the stories you’re most proud of covering/working on?

Proud is an interesting way to put it… Being here the same time as five football national championships, two “ESPN College GameDays,” Carson Wentz and the whole NFL Draft experience has been downright dumb luck. I feel way more fortunate than proud to have covered those events. Although, I am super grateful for Spotlight giving me the opportunity to cover these once-in-a-lifetime events.

I think I’m most proud of covering stories like Don Morton retiring from Microsoft. The “Where Are They Now?” stories always meant a little bit more to me because our subjects were an important part of the history at NDSU but have gone unnoticed while they were student-athletes. So it was my responsibility to give them some recognition for all they had done for the university. Mike Favor, Snuffy Byers and Isreal Moses, that story, I can’t thank them enough for their time with that. The work they’re doing now in Minneapolis is incredible for the kids in the area. That was probably the most meaningful story I ever wrote.

What’s one thing you wish people knew about Spotlight Media and/or Bison Illustrated?

How much every person in this company cares about the work they’re doing. In the creative industry, you can get work done without caring as much about the topic, but it usually results in doing the bare minimum and the quality isn’t quite where it should/could be. But when you care about what you’re presenting to the community, you always go the extra mile to make sure the story is not only accurate but impactful. People around here care about what they’re doing. I don’t know if it’s like that in every job.

What do you think you’ll miss the most about being here?

The Fargo-Moorhead community. Bison Nation. My colleagues. The people, the people, the people. It was a dream of mine to cover sports. I accomplished it, but that’s not what got me out of bed in the morning. What got me out of bed was the opportunity to seek, build and maintain relationships with the individuals I worked closely with. I had a responsibility, to them, to make Bison Illustrated the best it could possibly be, and I hope we accomplished that.