Staff & Contributors


Executive Director-Editor

Muller_2014 Lyle Muller joined IowaWatch in May 2012 after serving as editor of The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), which is owned by a multimedia company that also owns KCRG television and other digital and publishing enterprises. He held several reporting and editing positions during his 25 years there, among them being editor of the Iowa City Gazette, a zoned edition of The Gazette in 1999-2003, and leading investigative and special projects. He was a senior editor on the team that directed coverage of an Iowa flooding disaster, which won The Gazette the Society of Professional Journalists' national Sigma Delta Chi award for deadline reporting in 2008. A 1992 Council for the Advancement of Science Writing national fellow, his focus as a reporter was on health, science and higher education. He is a member of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation Board of Directors, Iowa Newspaper Association Government Relations Committee and Iowa High School Press Association Board of Directors. He has taught political reporting and editing at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication as an adjunct faculty member and has edited two books, "Epic Surge: Eastern Iowa's Unstoppable Flood of 2008" (The Gazette Co., 2008) and "Ramblin: Reflections of Hidden Iowa" (The Gazette Co., 2011). His reporting experience also included working as a staff reporter at the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Daily Iowan and in radio and television news. He is a University of Iowa graduate with a degree in communication studies. E-mail: Phone: 319-389-4477

Assistant Editor/Digital Analyst

LMills_picLauren Mills, the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism's first full-time, staff data analyst/reporter, also is its assistant editor. She has a deep history with IowaWatch. She was among the students who helped launch it when she studied at the University of Iowa. Her IowaWatch story, “The Story of Nitrogen: A trip down the Mississippi”, placed in the 2012-13 William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Enterprise Writing Competition. She was an assistant editor for IowaWatch until graduating from Iowa and accepting a reporting position at the Sioux City Journal, where she was a weekend police and crime reporter and investigative reporter. Lauren's experience also includes working as a Daily Iowan reporter, covering environmental issues. She holds degrees in English, journalism and mass communication and Spanish. At IowaWatch, she is responsible for reporting and writing her own stories and working with media partners on collaborations. E-mail:

Radio Show Host/Producer

stein thumbnailJeff Stein is the producer and host of The IowaWatch Connection, a 30-minute radio program launched in July 2014 and aired on more than 20 stations. He is a veteran journalist and educator who has been a political commentator on the Jim Bohannon national radio show, PBS Newshour and Fox News. He has worked for Iowa newspapers, radio stations and television stations for 35 years, including as an on-air political analyst for KWWL-TV, WOI-TV, and WHO Radio. The holder of a BA and JD from the University of Iowa, Stein has taught journalism at the college level for more than 20 years, including stints at Iowa State University, Buena Vista University-Marshalltown Center, Wartburg College and William Penn University. He is a past president of the Northwest Broadcast News Association and past chair of the State Historical Society of Iowa board of trustees. He has received Iowa’s highest news broadcast award, the Jack Shelley Award, and the national Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. A recognized Iowa broadcast historian, his books include Making Waves: The People and Places of Iowa Broadcasting and One Week in June: The Iowa Floods of 2008 and Iowa's WHO Radio: The Voice of the Middle West. He also authored Covering Iowa Law & Courts: A Guide for Journalists, now in its fourth edition, published by the Iowa State Bar Association. Email:

Board of Directors

Stephen J. Berry, co-founder, former interim executive director-editor, has been a journalism professor at The University of Iowa since the fall of 2003. Steve teaches introductory, intermediate and investigative reporting and writing to UI undergraduates. He also continues to be a volunteer, advisor and story editor for In 2009, he published “Watchdog Journalism: The Art of Investigative Reporting” (Oxford, 2009). Drawing on archival research and interviews with Pulitzer Prize winning journalists from across the country, the book reveals the drama of the job and the passion of its practitioners as it tells the back stories of six investigative projects that earned the crafts most coveted honor. Before coming to the UI in August 2003, Steve was a journalist at the Los Angeles Times for seven years, most of which was as an investigative reporter. He has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist. In 1993, while at the Orlando Sentinel, Steve and his reporting partner won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. The four-part project – “Tainted Cash or Easy Money?” exposed abuses of power and racial targeting by an elite squad of deputies of the sheriff in Volusia County, Florida. Steve holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama. His master’s degree is in American history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Email: Phone: 319-335-3331. His term as director ends in 2016.

Andy Hall is Founder and Executive Director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism,, in Madison, Wisconsin. A former Investigative Reporters and Editors board member, he has won dozens of awards for his reporting over the past 26 years at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Arizona Republic. He began his career in 1982 as a copyboy at The New York Times. At The Republic, Andy helped break the “Keating Five” scandal involving Sen. John McCain. At the State Journal, Hall’s stories held government and the powerful accountable and protected the vulnerable through coverage that addressed the racial achievement gap in public schools and helped spark the creation of the nationally noted Schools of Hope volunteer tutoring program, revealed NCAA violations by University of Wisconsin athletes, and exposed appalling conditions in neglected neighborhoods such as Allied Drive and Worthington Park. Andy won a first-place award in 2008 for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association. He also has received National Headliner, Gerald Loeb, James K. Batten and Inland Press Association awards for investigative, financial, deadline and civic journalism coverage. Hall has served for nine years as a mentor to the staff of La Comunidad, a Spanish-language newspaper in Madison. He has taught numerous courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. His term as director ends in 2015.

Erin Jordan is the Board’s President. She is an investigative reporter for The Gazette and KCRG-TV9 news in Cedar Rapids, where she covers topics that include tax breaks, business incentives, state bonuses and food waste. She received the Iowa Newspaper Foundation's Harrison "Skip" Weber Investigative Reporting Award in 2012. Before joining The Gazette, Erin was the Iowa City Bureau reporter for the Des Moines Register from 2003 to 2009. She has also taught at the University of Iowa's Summer Journalism Workshop and Iowa Young Writer's Studio. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University. Her term as director ends in 2014.

JimJim Malewitz is an energy reporter at The Texas Tribune. He is a founding IowaWatch staff member and former assistant editor who graduated from the University of Iowa with a master of arts-professional in journalism degree in May 2011. His May 29, 2010, investigation "When Students Go Missing", was IowaWatch's first published story and was instrumental in building IowaWatch's reputation as a trusted investigative news source. Jim earned his undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in 2009, where he majored in political science with a concentration in global development studies. Before joining The Texas Tribune he covered energy and environmental issues at Stateline, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. His term as director ends in 2016.

Judy Polumbaum is a professor at The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she has taught since 1989 at both undergraduate and graduate levels, across a range of subjects, including reporting and writing and international communication. Her research has focused on a variety of topics as well, including media in contemporary China, freedom of expression and the interactions of sports, media and culture. Judy has worked as a news reporter in Vermont, Oregon and California and for English-language news outlets in China, and she is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Her most recent book, “China Ink: The Changing Face of Chinese Journalism” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), is based on interviews with 20 young Chinese journalists. Polumbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a master’s from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Ph.D. in communication from Stanford University. Her father, Ted Polumbaum, was a photojournalist for 40 years, working for Life and other picture magazines; his archives reside with the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Her term as director ends in 2014.

Lisa RossiLisa Rossi is the news director for the American Journalism Review, an online publication that covers innovation in media. She is also on the faculty at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. A University of Iowa graduate and former Daily Iowan editor, she has worked at the Des Moines Register, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls) and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Before joining AJR, Lisa was an associate regional editor for in Maryland, where she managed writers, edited stories and developed strategies to grow online audiences. She lives in the District of Columbia area with her husband and two young sons.

David Schwartz is a doctoral student at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication. A former executive director of the Iowa High School Press Association, he directs the Iowa Summer Journalism Workshops and Iowa Summer Journalism Academies. He has served as an adjunct instructor for the UI journalism and mass communication school. Before joining the university in August 2007, Schwartz spent 3 1/2 years at Shaw Suburban Media just outside Chicago, first as executive sports editor over two daily sections and two web sites, then as managing editor for news and photo. From April 2003-June 2004 David served as associate director of communications for Erikson Institute in Chicago, a graduate school in early childhood education. As a sportswriter with the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill. (1999-2003), he was a beat writer for the Cubs and White Sox, college football and basketball, and preps. He also contributed to coverage of the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and professional golf. Schwartz began his career working part time for The Washington Post (1998) and The Sporting News (1999), serving internships with the Dallas Morning News (1997), Arizona Republic (1998) and Chicago Tribune (1999), and working as a student reporter for Medill News Service in Washington D.C., covering Congress, the White House and Supreme Court for two Midwest news organizations. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and mass communication from the UI. His master’s degree, from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, focused on news administration with special emphasis on news dissemination to time-crunched consumers. His term as director ends in 2016.

Mary Ungs-Sogaard is the publisher of three Woodward Communications newspapers in Iowa: Dyersville Commercial, the Eastern Iowa Shopping News, and the Cascade Pioneer. As publisher, she maintains the viability of newspapers both large and small. She is a past-president of the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Board of Directors and has more than 30 years of experience in working with management, publishing and newspapers. She has maintained a relationship with INA since 1982 and, in 2012, was awarded the INA's Master Editor-Publisher award for her service. Mary holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and English from The University of Iowa. Her term as director ends in 2014.

Bob WalkerBob Walker is a lecturer at the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. He has more than two decades of higher education teaching experience, previously as associate professor and the Banking & Finance Degree and Management Degree Coordinator with Kirkwood Community College, and as associate professor and chair of Department of Business at Mount Mercy University. He has been active in the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), SIFE/Enactus, and the Disney College Internship Program. He developed an international business strategy and culture course as an MBA capstone for Mount Mercy, where he led MBA students to work with small businesses in Belize. Before higher education, he spent 17 years in the banking industry and running his own consulting practice while actively being involved in small business start-ups. Bob co-authored the college textbook “Personal Finance: Building Your Future” with McGraw-Hill Irwin, which is entering into its second edition. He earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; his MBA from the University of Iowa; and Ph.D. from Iowa State University. His term is to be determined.

 Additional Staff

Sarah HadleySarah Hadley is an assistant editor at IowaWatch and University of Iowa senior studying journalism and mass communication. She is responsible for developing, reporting, writing and editing stories. She joined IowaWatch in January 2013. She is a 2014-15 Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates fellow and the recipient of the IowaWatch/Fotini Perlmutter Undergraduate Student Award for outstanding investigative reporting in both 2013 and 2014. A member of the Hawkeye Marching Band, she was a summer 2014 intern at The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA).

Katelynn McColloughKatelynn McCollough is an assistant editor at IowaWatch and a student at the University of Iowa College of Law, after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in journalism and mass communications, and political science. She was an IowaWatch intern in summer 2013 before serving as editor in chief of the Iowa State Daily in the 2013-14 school year. She also served in other capacities while studying at Iowa State, including serving on the First Amendment Day committee and the Society of Professional Journalists. She was a summer 2014 intern at The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA).

Kathryn SusikKathryn Susik is co-director of marketing and promotions for IowaWatch. She previously was an IowaWatch reporter and videographer. She is a University of Iowa senior working on majors in journalism and mass communication and cinema. She has done commercial videography and summer internships at places like the New York Film Academy and Jane Street Entertainment of New York, N.Y. She was a summer 2014 intern for CBS radio in Chicago.

Lindsey DrillingLindsey Drilling, a University of Iowa junior from Sioux City, is co-director of marketing and promotions. She is studying for a major in journalism and mass communication and a minor in political science. She works with Inspire PR, an arm of the UI's James F. Fox chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America that tackles projects for experience. She previously was a Daily Iowan reporter.

StephenGruberMillerStephen Gruber-Miller joined IowaWatch in summer 2013 as an intern and has continued as a reporter. He is responsible for researching, reporting and writing stories. A senior at Grinnell College, he is a 2014-15 co-editor of The Scarlet & Black. His other experience has been as a reporter at The Sun in Mount Vernon and Lisbon and as a summer intern at the Toledo Blade.

Xinran GuXinran Gu is an IowaWatch photographer. She is a senior at the University of Iowa, studying journalism and mass communication and studio art. She previously has studied at Macau University of Science and Technology in Macau, China, and at Indiana University.

Meghan HorihanMeghan Horihan is a marketing and promotions specialist at IowaWatch. She is a fall 2014 intern at Frank N. Magid Associates after serving as a summer 2014 intern at KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids. She is a senior studying journalism and mass communication, and American studies at the University of Iowa.

Tessa Langeling_1Tessa Lengeling joined IowaWatch in spring 2014 as a reporter responsible for developing and writing news stories. She is a senior at Simpson College, where her experiences have included being a member of The Simpsonian newspaper staff, social media manager for the Simpson College Culver Public Policy Center and intern with the college's marketing and public relations office.

Jacob LuplowJacob Luplow was a summer 2014 intern with IowaWatch and is completing work on a project for fall publication. He is a junior at Cornell College of Mount Vernon, Iowa, seeking majors in English/creative writing, philosophy, psychology and art. He is a member of Cornell's competitive leadership program, LEADS.

Erin SelinErin Selin is a junior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and entrepreneurship. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and active in Dance Marathon. She is undecided about what to do after school but would like to go into either public relations or magazine writing

Danielle_Wild_MugDanielle Wilde is a staff photographer at IowaWatch. She is a junior at the University of Iowa studying for degrees in journalism and mass communication, and studio arts with an emphasis on photography. Her experience includes an internship at San Jose State University’s SHiFT Magazine in the summer of 2012.

Jaime VargasJaime Vargas, creates illustrations for IowaWatch stories. He lives in Chile and learned graphic design at the Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Chile.


Contributing Consultants

Munro_Charles2010_0Charles Munro advises and assists IowaWatch with video and broadcast journalism. He is a lecturer and associate director of undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and TV coach for Daily Iowan TV. He has been a journalist, manager, industry consultant and educator for more than 30 years, gaining experience at places such as WXYZ in Detroit, WABC-TV in New York and WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, before working as a news consultant for Frank N. Magid Associates of Marion.

BrianSteffenBrian Steffen, professor and chair of the Simpson College communication and media studies department assists IowaWatch with various journalism projects, particularly those by Simpson College students. Before joining to Simpson in 1989 he was a government and politics reporter with the Ames Daily Tribune and the Associated Press. He is editor of the national research journal Teaching Journalism & Mass Communication. He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees at Iowa State University and doctorate in journalism at the University of Iowa.

Former Members of our Team

Robert Gutsche, Jr., co-founder, helped organize IowaWatch, beginning in November 2009 and served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer until 2011. He is in a tenure-track position as assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami.

JoyChang photoJoy (Chia-Yu) Chang, was IowaWatch's public relations and marketing director in 2012-14. She is with CFE Media, a business-to-business media company for engineering news.

Emily HoernerEmily Hoerner is a graduate student at the Medill School at Northwestern University. She previously worked for Crain's Chicago Business and Americorps in the Chicago area.

MacKenzie Elmer is a staff reporter at The Des Moines Register. She also has worked at The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA), The Hawk Eye (Burlington, IA) and the Associated Press.

Guannan Huang
, a native of Jiangxi Province, China, is a reporter and editor at The Week news website.

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson was a reporter from fall 2010 through January 2012. He is a reporter for The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA) after a stint at The Hawk Eye (Burlington, IA).

Jonathan Stefonek

Jonathan Stefonek was with IowaWatch in 2011-12. He is a reporter with the Portage Daily Register.

Linh Ta


Linh Ta, with IowaWatch in 2013-14, is a reporter at The Des Moines Register.

HayleyMug2Hayley Bruce, an assistant IowaWatch editor in 2012-13, is University of Iowa News Services writer.


Laura Arny, a former public information officer for IowaWatch, is an operations manager with



Katherine Kuntz is a reporter for I-News Rocky Mountain PBS. She was a multimedia reporter with IowaWatch in 2013-14.

Inma MateosInma Mateos returned to her home country of Spain and continues to pursue studies and possible work in foreign service. She produced IowaWatch video reports in 2014.

Ben Picture

Ben Moore, an IowaWatch reporter in 2012 and 2013, is a reviewer for the in Santa Monica, Calif.

Sujin Kim,
an IowaWatch reporter in 2012, is studying international relations at the Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul, South Korea.

Robert Maharry
Robert Maharry
reported for IowaWatch in 2012-13. He is as a reporter at the Conrad Record, with the Mid America Publishing group in Iowa.

Libby Collins


Libby Collins, an IowaWatch staff reporter in 2013-14, is at hibu in Cedar Rapids.

Lu ShenLu Shen, an IowaWatch staffer in 2014, is a reported in the CNN Beijing Bureau.

Lamia Zia


Lamia Zia, who focused on documentary and multimedia journalism in spring 2013 at IowaWatch, is a research fellow with the US-Pakistan Women's Council.

Rebekah Hoeger, with IowaWatch in 2011 and 2012, is a reporter at WALA Fox 10 News in Mobile, Ala.


Dana Davidsen, a reporter in fall 2011, is a communications coordinator at the Global Energy Program, World Resources Institute.

Gabriella DunnGabriella Dunn, a reporter in 2014, is a Wichita Eagle reporter as of mid-April 2015.

Gabriel Gao was a medical affairs reporter from fall 2010 through January 2012. He is a medical student at Northwestern University with plans to be a medical reporter.


Ryan Roccafort, a former public information officer for IowaWatch, became an account executive at Fleishman Hilliard.