The seventh annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet will celebrate the work of those who promote open government and an independent news media in Iowa the evening of Sept. 26, 2019, at the Des Moines Marriott in downtown Des Moines.
You may read here the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism 990 tax return for 2018. The center runs the IowaWatch.org news website and educational programming for student journalists who produce in-depth reporting with IowaWatch staff journalists. The non-profit, non-partisan center, founded in February 2010, spent $134,688, while raising $125,312 in 2018, both increases over the previous year, the return shows. The center received a boost at the end of the year when donors responded to the center’s inclusion in a Knight News Match fund drive. That fund drive resulted in a $24,688 grant disbursed by The Fund for Nonprofit News at The Miami Foundation in 2019.
Several front-line state workers at the Glenwood Resource Center, a state-run institution in Glenwood, Iowa, that cares for severely disabled patients, have raised concerns about the quality of care there after a slew of patient deaths earlier this year, an in-depth report by Des Moines Register Tony Leys revealed. Fourteen Glenwood residents had died at Glenwood between June of 2018 and April of 2019 when the article was published, which staff members say far exceeds normal death rates at the facility. Staff members at the facility got in touch with Leys, who covers healthcare for The Register, “only after complaints raised internally had no effect,” Leys wrote. Current and former staff members expressed concern to Leys that the quality of care at Glenwood had diminished following administrative changes and the unexplained firing of a longtime doctor at the institution. Using Iowa’s Open Records Law, Leys was able to read the resignation letter of a physician who resigned from Glenwood and talk with a former Glenwood pharmacist who left that position because of conditions at the facility.
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.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism was one of three 2018 Citizen Diplomat Award recipients honored the night of April 16 by the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities, or CIVIC. The other award recipients were Diamond V of Cedar Rapids, for business and industry, and Johnson County Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass as an individual. They received the awards at CIVIC’s Fourth Annual Celebration of Citizen Diplomacy Dinner in Iowa City. The center, which runs IowaWatch.org, was cited for its work as a nonprofit organization because of the several years it has met with international journalists CIVIC brings to Iowa on U.S. visits that bring them to Iowa. The non-profit CIVIC is a community-based, member-driven organization established to create, support and sustain citizen diplomacy efforts in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area of Eastern Iowa.
UPDATED AFTER THE EVENT: Story ideas, public feedback during April 24, 2019, citizens’ journalism workshop:
You’re interested in your community and current events and wonder how news about them is reported and written. Now, you have a chance to not only learn that but to be part of a workshop that takes you through the steps of reporting, writing and editing a news story in your community. The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, which runs the news site, IowaWatch.org, will host a journalism workshop on April 24, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m. to inform and engage the public in news reporting. The workshop, “Creative Minds: Journalism Workshop Engaging Citizens In the News,” will be in the Iowa City Public Library, Room D, at 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City. REGISTER HERE
This workshop will be open to the public but we recommend confirmation that you will attend through Eventbrite, an online event management platform.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism is one of three 2018 Citizen Diplomat Award recipients announced March 4, 2019, by the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities, known as CIVIC. The center, which runs IowaWatch.org, is being cited for its work as a nonprofit organization. The center’s journalists meet with international journalists on U.S. visits that bring them to Iowa, to talk about journalism in Iowa and the United States. The non-profit CIVIC is a community-based, member-driven organization established to create, support and sustain citizen diplomacy efforts in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area of Eastern Iowa. It hosts international visitors whose U.S. visits take them through Iowa.
An opportunity exists on March 5 for journalists and students interested in environmental communication to network, explore issues with researchers, promote environmental journalism and strengthen the capacity for regional environmental reporting in Iowa and the Midwest. The day-long “The Climate of Environmental Journalism: A Regional Summit” is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Drake Community Library in Grinnell. IowaWatch is a summit cosponsor with the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies. IowaWatch is focusing on public health issues in 2019. Participation in the summit is available free of charge but registration is required by Feb.