Challenges facing modern-day journalism are at to a crisis stage as many Americans’ lack understanding of a critical news media’s role in society, IowaWatch cofounder and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Stephen Berry said during a recent visit to Iowa and in an IowaWatch Connection podcast.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Stephen J. Berry, whose push for journalists to work thoroughly and ethically led him to co-found the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch, will be the annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet’s guest speaker in Des Moines on Thursday, September 27, 2018.
For as long as Iowa has existed newspapers have recorded the events and people shaping communities, informing current residents but also leaving a history for future generations. But you might not be aware of a few things found in the history of Iowa newspapers.
“I am strong and hearty, and as willing to work as any man,” Katie Prehm wrote in a letter to the White House in 1878. The Traer, Iowa, girl was only 11 years old and hoped to receive 160 acres for a farm through the Homestead Act. Her older brother and dad were already in Kansas working a farm; and Katie promised they would help break up the land in her plot of land, if the government granted it. She planned to fence it all in with willows. And she had a half peck of maple seeds that she could use to establish a big grove on the land.
The fifth annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet, titled “Government Transparency: Now More Than Ever,” will feature White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs as its guest speaker on Thursday, Oct. 5, in Des Moines. The banquet, at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown and hosted by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism — IowaWatch with the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Iowa Newspaper Foundation, will follow a day of raising awareness about the importance of an open government and an unrestricted press to our democracy. The banquet will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception, with serving beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Other events will include a public forum hosted by the Des Moines Register and 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. Speakers will explore this expanding secrecy – and arguments marshaled by various sides.
Student-run college newspapers in Iowa are feeling newspaper industry trend repercussions, reporting fewer print readers but increased online readership as young readers increasingly get their news from digital sources.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism—IowaWatch has received two major grants for operating expenses in 2016: $75,000 from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and $10,000 from The Gazette Co.
The fact that state authorities sought to obstruct disclosure of a police shooting in Burlington explains, in part, why Iowa received an overall grade of D+ in a 2015 State Integrity Investigation conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity.
Register now for the IowaWatch annual banquet. First Amendment expert and educator Ken Paulson will be the guest speaker at the third annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet, titled this year “Journalism’s Core…The Contemporary First Amendment.