After a long search involving applicants from around the country, the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch.org has found a new executive director in Lyle Muller.
Muller, the editor of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, the second largest newspaper in Iowa, also served for 13 years as a Gazette reporter, covering health and science and higher education.
David Schwartz, president of the Board of Directors for the center, emphasized Muller’s experience and connections in the industry.
“He’s the complete package,” Schwartz said. “To get someone like Lyle exceeds my wildest expectations.”
Schwartz also stressed Muller’s ability to remain on top of the changes in the field of journalism, as emerging technologies and multimedia have gained importance, especially for publications such as IowaWatch.
“He’s a true journalist who has kept up with modern times,” Schwartz said. “He has continually reinvented himself and embraced what journalism is. Whether it is web or print, it still comes down to good solid journalism.”
Muller said he received the call from Schwartz last night announcing his selection for the position.
“I was almost numb,” Muller said. “I was extremely happy. I had never envisioned that I would be doing something like this at this point in my career.”
The challenge of doing something new and focusing on investigative journalism are two aspects that drew Muller to the position.
“I love the process of discovery and telling people what’s been discovered in a way that they understand so they have the power to make decisions of their own,” Muller said of his passion for investigative journalism.
Muller said his first goal is to find a way to sustain IowaWatch financially, then find the stories.
“You need to balance the two of them so you can bring something meaningful to the people,” Muller said.
Stephen J. Berry, co-founder and interim executive director-editor of IowaWatch, called the selection of Muller as the new executive director a “major breakthrough” for the center and said he is a “well-respected leader in the journalism community of Iowa.”
“Just as I do, Lyle sees non-profit journalism and its collaborative principle as a growing and evolving factor in the future of our profession,” Berry said. “The Gazette, under his leadership, has already embraced that principle in working with IowaWatch on numerous occasions and with other the news organizations. Moreover, his background in explanatory and investigative journalism fits perfectly with our mission.”