Suzanne Behnke Picked To Be The Next IowaWatch Executive Director

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, or IowaWatch, has hired Suzanne Behnke to be its new executive director. Behnke, who starts in August, succeeds Lyle Muller, who will retire in September after leading IowaWatch since 2012. “Journalism and its future are my professional passions, and IowaWatch will allow me to work in both areas,” Behnke said. “There’s tremendous potential for IowaWatch to grow in depth and breadth so it can serve readers for years to come.”

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Behnke comes to IowaWatch from the Des Moines Business Record, where she has been an editor and contributor since May 2017. She also is a journalism and communications instructor at Simpson College in Indianola.

Vilsack: Tragedy Three Decades Ago Emphasized Faith, Challenges

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The December 1986 murder of Mount Pleasant’s mayor at a City Council meeting taught his successor, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, the value of faith and confidence to confront challenges, Vilsack said in a new IowaWatch Connection radio interview. A disgruntled resident shot and killed Edward King and wounded two City Council members, shouting obscenities about a dispute the resident had with the city. “That experience indicated to me that the community was willing to come together,” Vilsack said in the interview. “It also taught me the important role in public life of being willing to listen, and being close to people, and giving them the opportunity to share with you their hopes, their aspirations, their concerns, their irritations.” Vilsack established “mayor’s hours” after King’s death in the city’s public library after a failed attempt at City Hall — people were reticent to go to where the murder happened, Vilsack said — to talk with people about municipal concerns in Mount Pleasant.