Jennifer Jacobs, whose journey to White House correspondent began in Iowa, will bring back home tales of covering the Trump presidency when she serves as the annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet’s guest speaker in Des Moines on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.
The banquet, with the theme of “Government Transparency: Now More Than Ever,” is hosted by The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch.org and Iowa Freedom of Information Council with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation. It will conclude a day of events that focus on the public’s right to know and the need for news media that operate as independent government watchdogs.
Jacobs, an Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication graduate, points out that she moved from being The Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter to Washington, D.C., and a job with Bloomberg News on April Fool’s Day in 2016 to cover Donald Trump.
Politico named her one of 16 breakout media stars of 2016, writing: “Jacobs was already an established force in Iowa before joining Bloomberg Politics earlier this year. As a Des Moines Register reporter, Jacobs became one of Iowa’s preeminent reporters for the state’s important presidential caucuses, regularly breaking news about campaigns (such as troubles in Ben Carson’s campaign) that reverberated across the political spectrum.”
Other events for a day called Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Day are planned on Oct. 5 in Des Moines. They will include a public forum hosted by Register Media, the Iowa Newspaper Association and the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. Titled, “Iowa’s Creeping Secrecy,” the forum will examine how each year brings more challenges that would erode Iowa’s long tradition of state and local government being open for scrutiny by the public. We will explore this expanding secrecy – and arguments marshaled by various sides.
Access to the first-floor forum is easy at Register Media’s Community Room, 400 Locust St., in downtown Des Moines. The annual Iowa Freedom of Information Council business meeting at Register Media will follow the forum. The public is welcome to attend that, too.
The Iowa Freedom of Information Council will present its annual Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment award at the banquet before Jacobs speaks. IowaWatch will present its Stephen Berry and Randy Brubaker Free Press Champion awards respectively to a working journalist or journalism educator and to an Iowan who promotes the role of an unrestricted news media and open government in means other than as a journalist.
Politico wrote: “At Bloomberg News, Jacobs was part of a team that regularly broke news about the Trump campaign, from his plans for the conventions, campaign hires, campaign defections to campaign conference calls on strategy.”
Trump once called her “the worst” in the middle of one of his campaign rallies, peeved at how she described his crowd sizes and poll numbers.
Since Trump was sworn in, Jacobs has been writing the inside story on the White House, including breaking that Steve Bannon had been removed from Trump’s National Security Council, that Trump had no tapes of his conversations with FBI Director James Comey, and how Chief of Staff John Kelly’s first week went as he tries to instill discipline in an unruly administration.
Admission to events other than the banquet is free, but registration is required for the banquet. The cost is $55 per plate. Registration is open until Thursday, Sept. 29. Besides the presenting sponsors, the banquet is sponsored by the Iowa Broadcasters Association; the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication; the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication; the Faegre Baker Daniels law firm of Des Moines and The Des Moines Register with additional support from the Associated Press and the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. (Additional sponsors added Aug. 26.)
The Downtown Marriott has a special group rate for the night of the banquet.
EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
- 2:00-4:00 p.m. – Des Moines Register/Iowa Newspaper Association forum, Des Moines Register Community Room, 400 Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309.
- 4:30-5:30 p.m. –Iowa Freedom of Information Council Annual Business Meeting, Des Moines Register Community Room, 400 Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309.
- 5:30-8:30 p.m. – IowaWatch reception and “Government Transparency: Now More Than Ever,” the fifth annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet with speaker Jennifer Jacobs, Downtown Des Moines Marriott.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-partisan journalistic program dedicated to producing high quality investigative journalism while training journalism students on this work at a high, ethical level. IowaWatch provides mentorship to college students in Iowa who want to be journalists and helps in getting their work published by newspapers and news web sites, and exposed through broadcast outlets. IowaWatch.org also publishes their work.