UPDATED: Last week was busy at IowaWatch, with both Executive Director-Editor Lyle Muller and reporter and digital analyst Lauren Mills in San Francisco June 26-28 for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference.
The conference provided an opportunity to hear about work being done in newsrooms across the country, learn new skills and share IowaWatch stories and programs.
Muller delivered a revenue generation lightning round presentation June 26 during the annual Investigative News Network day at the conference. The presentation featured the IowaWatch Connection, an audience outreach program launched as a pilot with a $25,000 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant. The IowaWatch Connection includes a radio program that will premiere July 5 and a series of community forums. A July 1 forum in Council Bluffs is part of this program.
“Other Investigative News Network members appeared interested in what we are trying to do with the radio program. Seeing that reaction was gratifying, plus we learned a lot from what others are trying to do to spread their journalism to larger audiences,” Muller said.
Andy Hall, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and an IowaWatch board member, also delivered a lightning round presentation with the center’s multimedia director and reporter Kate Golden featuring the center’s use of art to raise awareness of agricultural and environmental issues.
On June 28, Mills and Hall were on an IRE panel that focused on efforts to get students involved in investigative reporting in professional newsrooms. College students do the majority of IowaWatch’s investigations.
Mills and Nick Penzenstadler, of The Post-Crescent in the Appleton/Fox Cities area of Wisconsin started as student reporters for IowaWatch and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, respectively, before joining the paid staffs of their current employers.
Mills and Golden also were panelists for a June 28 IRE session on agriculture reporting.
Other panelists were Mike McGraw of Harvest Public Media and Pam Dempsey of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. IowaWatch, Harvest Public Media and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative are members of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.