Dear IowaWatch friends and supporters,
A short while ago I learned that IowaWatch is included in a huge, national News Match 2017 fund drive that will benefit our non-profit news gathering and training program with up to $28,000 in matching funds, but only if you can help us. More on that later. First, I want to share with you briefly how this opportunity got me to thinking about something IowaWatch does that is as valuable as the journalism we produce and share with our media partners: the training and opportunities we give our next generation of journalists.
We hear a lot of handwringing these days about the state of journalism, usually when asking: Whom can we trust? We think having an independent, free press is part of that question’s answer. But to gain that trust, we need to ensure that journalists strive hard to find the truth, challenging those with authority over us but, as important, their own assumptions and prejudices. Often, student journalists who are asked what they gained from working on an IowaWatch project say they learned about their incorrect assumptions and how to get past them to report a news story authentically.
The News Match 2017 campaign can help us show young journalists the right way to report facts. The campaign is funded generously by $3 million from the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. These foundations selected a little more than 100 news organizations to support because, the foundations noted when announcing the drive, we “play a vital role informing the public and holding those in power accountable.”
IowaWatch is eligible to receive up to $28,000 in total matching funds for individual donations up to $1,000 that you give IowaWatch between now and the end of this year. Every dollar you donate to our 501(c)(3) nonprofit turns into two dollars. Or, if you prefer: every $100 you donate becomes $200.
We call our fund drive in Iowa “Protect Truth. Protect Press. Protect Democracy.” University of Iowa marketing and promotions students working with IowaWatch came up with that, and it works.
Is this a big deal? You bet it is. IowaWatch was proud to be part of a similar Knight News Match drive last year and you responded. Give an early keystone donation now and we will use it in a pool of matching funds later in our drive, even as the three big national foundations match all of your donations.
This is about the future, friends. We’re planning big things for 2018 and even into 2019 and they depend upon your response to the News Match 2017 opportunity. I want to show these national foundations that Iowans care about their news and preparing journalists who will cover this democracy in the coming decades. We want to grow a movement that has placed former IowaWatch reporters at places ranging from The Des Moines Register and The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to InjusticeWatch.org and Texas Tribune, and the University of Missouri and Florida International University faculties, and China Daily, and countless more places.
My three requests of you are:
- Give your tax-deductible donation to IowaWatch now either through our donate button or by mail: IowaWatch; PO Box 2178; Iowa City, IA 52244-2178.
- Tell your friends about us and encourage them to support us as well.
- Attend one of the events we will be at or are planning for later this month and November and let us know you are there. We like to recognize our supporters in public because we cannot do this without you. For example, stop by our booth at the Iowa City Book Festival on Saturday.
Thank you for reading our stories and for your financial support.
Lyle Muller, Executive Director and Editor
Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism – IowaWatch.org
Some of our former students’ journalism:
NOTE: This last report was done by Lauren Shotwell when she was a paid, full-time IowaWatch reporter. Lauren previously had been a student reporter at IowaWatch.