As part of an effort to better cover crucial issues in the agricultural industry, Investigate Midwest has acquired IowaWatch and its talented team, bringing together a combined 25 years of public service journalism to Iowa and the Midwest. IowaWatch (The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism) will cease operations as a nonprofit and evolve into an expanded Iowa-based newsroom within Investigate Midwest (The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting) under an agreement approved this month by the boards of directors of both nonprofit organizations. Under the umbrella of Investigate Midwest, the Iowa team will focus its coverage on agriculture and rural issues. “As colleagues for many years, IowaWatch and Investigate Midwest have naturally gravitated toward the common goal of deeply covering rural communities and Midwest issues that often go unseen and unreported,” said Pam Dempsey, executive director for Investigate Midwest. The newsroom will do more investigative stories for Iowans and allow Investigate Midwest — whose mission is to expose the dangerous and costly practices of influential agricultural corporations and institutions — to expand its coverage in a state that’s a global leader in agriculture.
STEPHEN BERRY FREE PRESS CHAMPIONS
(For current journalist or journalism educator)
2021: Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
2020: No awards due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019: Carol Hunter, Des Moines Register
2018: Herb Strentz, Drake University
2017: Randy Evans, Iowa Freedom of information Council
2016: Clark Kauffman, Des Moines Register
2015: Mary Mason and Jim Compton, The Spotlight (Muscatine, IA)
2014: Brian Cooper, The Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)
2013: Kathleen Richardson, Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Drake University
RANDY BRUBAKER FREE PRESS CHAMPIONS
(For attention to free press principles outside of journalism)
2021: Polly Carver-Kimm, former spokesperson for Iowa Department of Public Health
2020: No awards due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019: Margaret Johnson, Iowa Public Information board executive director
2018: Bill Monroe, Iowa Newspaper Association
2017: Chris Mudge, Iowa Newspaper Association
2016: Harold Hammond (post-humously)
2015: Keith Luchtel, first Iowa Public Information Board executive director, governor’s open government liaison, long-time media lobbyist
2014: Michael Gartner, Iowa Cubs president
2013: State Sen. Pam Jochum, Dubuque
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, which runs the IowaWatch.org news website and educational programming for student journalists who produce in-depth reporting with IowaWatch staff journalists, values transparency. The non-profit, non-partisan center, founded in February 2010, spent $120,936 while raising $139,918 in 2020, its most recent 990 tax return shows. You may read the IowaWatch 990 tax form for 2020 at this link:
IACenter990 for 2020
TO LEARN HOW IOWAWATCH’S NONPROFIT JOURNALISM IS FUNDED AND HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT IT, GO TO THIS LINK. The center is part of the annual News Match fund drive, during which donations to the center are doubled when made from November 1 through December 31. The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit program that does investigative and community affairs journalism as a public service in collaboration with other media, and trains college student journalists to do this work at a high level.
Iowa City, Iowa – Corridor area residents are invited to enjoy great food, wine, music, and scenery at an annual fundraiser to support IowaWatch.org. Get tickets here. Sunset on the Farm will take place Thursday, September 23rd, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Walker Homestead just outside of Iowa City.
This event will consist of unlimited pizza and salad, s’mores for dessert, access to a cash bar, a silent auction, and live music from the Mission Bluegrass Band. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children over 5.
IowaWatch.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that provides Iowa’s news outlets with top-quality in-depth reporting for free while training future journalists. Tickets and other donations at Sunset on the Farm go toward supporting Iowa-focused investigative journalism such as the recent “Small Town Solutions” project. This is the first Sunset on the Farm since September 2019.
Two reporting interns will spend 10 weeks of their summer with the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism – IowaWatch. Olivia Allen and Maria Kuiper will focus on specific topics for the summer. Kuiper begins May 24 and Allen follows on June 1. Maria Kuiper
Kuiper is a 2021 University of Iowa graduate. She studied journalism with a minor in Arabic and a certificate in human rights.
You may read here the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism’s 990 tax return for 2019. It covers our work at the IowaWatch.org news website and our educational programming for student journalists who produce in-depth reporting with IowaWatch staff journalists.
Elderly folks are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. So are jail and prison inmates living in close quarters that allow the virus to easily spread.
That means elderly inmates face a double whammy of risk. So why was Illinois offering so few reprieves to elderly inmates at a time when the state was letting out hundreds of other prisoners to alleviate crowding? And why does Illinois incarcerate so many older folks to begin with?
Emily Hoerner is answering such life-and-death questions for Injustice Watch, a Chicago-based nonprofit news outlet that exposes institutional failures that obstruct justice and equality, where she has reported since 2015.
Hoerner was among IowaWatch’s first interns in 2011 and 2012 as a University of Iowa student, and she is among a long list of IowaWatch alums who are now watchdogging government officials, shining a light on injustices and offering critical information to communities during a pandemic that has upended life across the United States. “IowaWatch was the place where I really first learned about the importance of understanding the nuance in stories.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism – IowaWatch.org has been selected as a partner to report on how COVID-19 is changing and challenging rural school districts, the Institute for Nonprofit News reported. It is IowaWatch’s third reporting collaboration in the past year. “Our goal is to look at the smaller districts that have fewer resources and how they are meeting the challenges of learning during a global pandemic,” said Executive Director Suzanne Behnke. The Walton Family Foundation is providing a grant that will allow IowaWatch and other collaboration members, El Paso Matters, The Nevada Independent, New Mexico In-Depth, Scalawag, Underscore Media and Wisconsin Watch, to report and write on rural schools in their respective states during the 2020-2021 school year. The project will produce three reports by IowaWatch and by each member over the six months of the grant, at the start of the school year, toward the middle of the fall and a last installment toward the end of 2020.
Four IowaWatch reports have collected awards — two of them for first place — for large market radio reporting during 2019.
Suzanne Behnke, executive director of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism and its news outlet, IowaWatch, has been named to the Institute for Nonprofit News Emerging Leaders Council. INN announced Thursday, May 21, that Behnke is among 11 leaders selected for the third Emerging Leaders Council, which identifies and supports leaders who will advance the nonprofit news sector throughout the next decade.
Suzanne Behnke, IowaWatch executive director-editor
“This is a terrific opportunity to network, to support nonprofit news and to find ways to strengthen IowaWatch,” Behnke said. “I am excited to join a terrific group of journalists.”
Behnke joined the Center in 2019 after spending two years at the Des Moines Business Record, where she was an editor and contributor. She also is a journalism and communications instructor at Simpson College in Indianola. Behnke, a native Iowan, has a long and rich news reporting and editing history in the state. She was a reporter, copy editor and page designer at The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier from 1997 to 2000 before joining The Des Moines Register staff.
We’re digging into the stressful toll of wildfires, hurricanes and floods — and now COVID-19 on top of them. We need your help. Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States, creating scenes traumatic and, increasingly, familiar. Deadly firestorms throughout the West. Historic floods in the Farm Belt. Catastrophic hurricanes with record rains in the South and along the East Coast.