Center founders attend ethics conference

Iowa Center co-founders Stephen J. Berry and Robert Gutsche Jr. attended the second annual conference on new journalism and media ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 30, 2010. The conference, which included dozens of regional and national journalists and academics, was hosted by UW-Madison’s Center for Journalism Ethics in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “As new entrants into the exciting world of non-profit journalism, we gained valuable knowledge and new ideas from some of this movement’s courageous pioneers, like Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity,” said Berry, interim executive director of the Iowa Center and associate professor of  journalism  at The University of Iowa.  “Personally, I came away from this conference inspired to make full disclosure and transparency signature characteristics of the Center.”

Participants discussed the need for new media and non-profit outlets to apply the highest standards of ethics, including a commitment to transparency about donors and news staff. They also stressed the importance of collaboration with media and other partners.

Gutsche: High schools can learn from non-profits

In an attempt to share the values and possibilities of non-profit journalism, Robert Gutsche Jr., director of outreach at the Iowa Center, published a story this spring targeted at high school journalism students and their teachers. The article, which encouraged students to “start digging” into their communities and schools appeared in the February/March issue of Quill and Scroll, a national high school journalism magazine. In the piece, Gutsche discussed how student staffs at colleges throughout their regions and states can collaborate to develop investigative and explanatory journalism. “It’s important for young journalists to understand the relevance of non-profit and investigative journalism in today’s society,” Gutsche said. “Students must push themselves to do better journalism and, at the same time, learn about new models of producing news.”

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An early partnership

The Iowa Center has partnered with The Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center to form articles of incorporation, establish bylaws and build a greater understanding of 501(c)(3) organizations. “Finding partnerships right here in Iowa to help us through this process of building a center for the people of Iowa falls directly in line with the Center’s mission,” said Robert Gutsche Jr., the Iowa Center’s outreach director. The INRC trains law students at The University of Iowa in nonprofit law and provides workshops, training, and publishes guidelines to nonprofit workers statewide. The INRC was founded in 2001 by Willard “Sandy” Boyd, a professor at The University of Iowa College of Law and President Emeritus of The University of Iowa. “The Resource Center has been instrumental in our development and we cannot thank the staff and President Boyd enough for their help,” Gutsche said.

Board moves Center forward

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism Board of Directors met Friday, March 26 at the Iowa City Public Library.

Its first meeting marked the collaboration of some of the state and nation’s media and education leaders to form the new, non-profit and non-partisan news outlet that will serve the state of Iowa.

In addition to discussing the Center’s bylaws, ethics statements and goals, the Board elected its founding officers.