Chelsea Keenan (front left) and Lee Hermiston (right) are shown at their desks in  The Gazette's Cedar Rapids office on July 29, 2016

Inside The Reporter’s Notebook: Gazette Series Humanizes, Raises Awareness Of Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is growing nationwide, and eastern Iowa is no exception with more than 61 non-fatal overdoses and 21 deaths in 2015. Cedar Rapids Gazette healthcare reporter Chelsea Keenan and public safety reporter Lee Hermiston spoke with IowaWatch intern Brittany Robb about their stories that formed part of an in-depth look at the epidemic in The Gazette‘s June 2016 series, “Heroin’s Hold In Iowa.”

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IowaWatch Connection Wins Seven Iowa Broadcast News Awards

The IowaWatch Connection radio program collected seven awards, including three for first place, for large market radio reporting at the 2016 Iowa Broadcast News Association convention in Waterloo, Iowa, on April 23. Each week program host and producer Jeff Stein examines an IowaWatch story in depth during the 23-minute program. The program’s winning entries were:

First place: Political coverage, for a series on the mood of the electorate leading up to the 2016 Iowa precinct caucuses. First place: In-depth/series, for a two-part report on criminal justice reform. Part one.

Visitors to the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C., are asked whether or not colleges and universities should limit speech as a way to protect students from hateful comments. The informal results when this photo was taken April 3, 2016, was no.

Panelists Confirmed For May 2 IowaWatch Free Speech On Campuses Forum

Panelists have been confirmed for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch public forum on Monday, May 2, in Iowa City that examines whether or not limits exist for speech and expression on college campuses. The forum is part of a spring IowaWatch reporting project, “Making Boundaries: The Impact of Defining Boundaries for Speech and Expression on College Campuses.”

Visitors to the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C., are asked whether or not colleges and universities should limit speech as a way to protect students from hateful comments. The informal result when this photo was taken April 3, 2016, was no.

Free Speech On College Campuses The Topic Of May 2 IowaWatch Forum

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch will hold a public forum on Tuesday, May 2, in Iowa City that examines whether or not limits exist for speech and expression on college campuses. The forum is part of a spring IowaWatch reporting project, “Making Boundaries: The Impact of Defining Boundaries for Speech and Expression on College Campuses.”

The public forum will feature four to six guest panelists who will discuss how limits on speech and expression align with the learning experience. The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch was a participant in an April 2, 2016, one-day conference on this topic that the Newseum Institute hosted in Washington, D.C.

“We know this is a hot topic on a lot of college campuses in Iowa and also nationally,” IowaWatch Executive Director-Editor Lyle Muller said. “We’ve sent reporters to several Iowa campuses to ask whether or not people really have freedom of speech and expression in all instances. We want to share what those reporters learned and advance the conversation so that people have a clearer idea on their own of the role free speech has in our society and our learning experience.”

The public forum will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Prairie Lights Bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St.

Jane Schorer Meisner, former Des Moines Register reporter, looks at the note former Register Editor Geneva Overholser sent about a 1990 story about an Iowa rape that won The Register and Meisner a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1991.

Select IowaWatch Connection Programs Focus On Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalism In Iowa

The first radio programs in an IowaWatch series on Pulitzer Prize-winning Iowa journalism focus on a unique way of handling news reports of a difficult topic in 1990 – rape. The programs, aired as part of the statewide IowaWatch Connection radio program, were on 21 radio stations during the weekends of March 22-24 and April 1-3. IowaWatch.org has posted podcasts of the programs, which feature former Des Moines Register reporter Jane Schorer Meisner’s 1990 newspaper series on the stigma attached to women who are raped. The series, which told the story of an Iowa woman who was raped but willing to talk about it and be named, won The Register the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Meisner talks in the programs about her reporting, its impact on how people view rape as a crime and how journalists report it.

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IowaWatch Reporter Earns Fund For Investigative Journalism Grant

The Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded IowaWatch’s Lauren Mills a $5,000 grant to support a journalism project in which she will examine Iowa’s water quality. This marks the third time the organization has given an IowaWatch reporter a grant and the second time it has given one to Mills, who is IowaWatch’s assistant editor, data analyst and reporter.