Staff & Contributors

Executive Director-Editor

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 and Iowa Newspaper Association Government Relations Committee. 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 includes stints 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

Reporter/Digital Analyst

LMills_picLauren Mills is the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism's first full-time, staff data analyst/reporter. 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:

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. Berry 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, Berry 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, Berry 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, Berry 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. Berry 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.

Jason Brummond, the Board's treasurer, is a consulting associate at Frank N. Magid Associates, a research-based strategic consulting firm, and is pursuing his MBA at the University of Iowa. At Magid, Jason works with local television stations in the U.S. and Canada and other clients to develop and improve their digital media strategies, including online, social media, mobile, and multiplatform integration. Before joining Magid in August 2010, he worked for a variety of online and print news organizations, including and CBS Interactive’s He is a freelance sportswriter for the Associated Press and The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA). He spent five years at The Daily Iowan and was Editor-in-Chief in 2007-08, when the paper was selected by the Associated Collegiate Press as a recipient of the Pacemaker, the Pulitzer Prize for college journalism. Jason graduated from the University of Iowa with bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication and Management Information Systems. His term as director ends in 2016.

JaneFritschJane Fritsch, an assistant professor of journalism and communication at Iowa State University, has worked for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune. As a New York Times reporter, she covered the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and contributed to “A Nation Challenged,” the Times coverage awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. She and a New York Times colleague were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. At the Los Angeles Times, she was the chief City Hall reporter and did investigative projects. Over the years, she has written about a broad range of subjects, including science, the arts, banking, children’s books and crime. At the Chicago Tribune, she was the chief reporter for the trial of the serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Most recently, she was Web News Editor and a senior digital editor at the Chicago Tribune. She also spent a year as the Assistant Bureau Chief for the Associated Press in Chicago. As an adjunct instructor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she taught local enterprise reporting. Early in her career, she worked as a Ritz Cracker inspector and Oreo packer at a Nabisco plant in Chicago, which helped crystallize her resolve to find something else to do. The end of her term is to be determined.

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, Hall 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. Most recently, Hall 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, Jordan 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. Jordan 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. Polumbaum 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.

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, David 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), David served as 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. David 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. David 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. Ungs-Sogaard holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and English from The University of Iowa. Her term as director ends in 2014.

Corinna Zarek is the attorney-advisor for the federal Office of Government Information Services. This office assists Freedom of Information Act requesters and agencies in resolving disputes, reviews agencies’ FOIA compliance and serves as a general FOIA ombudsman. Previously, Zarek was the Freedom of Information Director at The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press where she assisted journalists with open records and open meetings issues at the federal and state levels, participated in litigation on open records and open meetings disputes and wrote about these issues for the organization’s publications. Zarek also practiced for a law firm in Washington specializing in administrative law and previously wrote for The Des Moines Register. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Iowa. Zarek sits on the board of directors for the D.C. Open Government Coalition and the Capital Area Iowa Club alumni organization, and she is active with the National Press Club and her local United Way chapter. She also teaches a media law class at American University and the University of Maryland. Her term as director ends in 2015.

 Additional Staff

Meghan HorihanMeghan Horihan is director of marketing and promotions for IowaWatch. Her first experience with IowaWatch was assisting with the planning for a Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet in October 2013, as a member of the student-run, PRSSA-related public relations firm Inspire. She continues to be a member of that group. She is a junior studying journalism and mass communication, and American studies at the University of Iowa.

Sarah HadleySarah Hadley is a University of Iowa junior studying journalism and mass communication. She is responsible for developing, reporting and writing stories. Her varied interests include being a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band. She joined IowaWatch in January 2013.

KatieKuntzKatherine Kuntz is a broadcast journalist responsible for developing, reporting, writing, videotaping and producing news stories. She is a University of Iowa senior working on degrees in journalism and mass communication and economics. She also is news director at KRUI, the UI's student-run radio station, and a reporter, writer and producer for The Hawkeye Network's “Inside Iowa”. Her experience includes being a Daily Iowan editorial writer and DITV reporter.

Inma MateosInma Mateos is producing video reports for IowaWatch while studying journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa through the International Student Exchange Program. She has a degree in information science and documentation from the University of Murcia in her home country of Spain.

StephenGruberMillerStephen Gruber-Miller is a junior at Grinnell College, where he is seeking a degree in English. He was a summer 2012 IowaWatch intern who decided to remain as a volunteer student staffer. He also is a staff writer at The Scarlet & Black, the student-run newspaper at Grinnell, and has been an intern reporter for The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun.

Linh TaLinh Ta is a staff reporter responsible for researching, reporting and writing stories. A junior at the University of Northern Iowa, she is working on a degree in electronic media/political communication with a minor in journalism. She is the executive editor of the Northern Iowan newspaper in the 2013-14 school year, and has served as news director at the student-run radio station, KULT 94.5. She was a summer 2013 intern at the The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls) and continues to do freelance work for that newspaper.

Libby CollinsLibby Collins is a senior at the University of Iowa with a double major of English and journalism and mass communication. As an IowaWatch staff reporter she is responsible for developing story ideas, and reporting and writing them. She participates in UI Dance Marathon and is interested in reading and writing.

RanaMoustafaRana Moustafa is a staff reporter responsible for pitching, reporting and writing stories for IowaWatch. She is a junior at the University of Iowa with a double major in journalism and mass communication, and linguistics. Her journalistic interests include international politics and health reporting.

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.

Kathryn SusikKathryn Susik is a staff reporter specializing in video storytelling. She is a University of Iowa sophomore working on majors in journalism and mass communication and cinema. She'd like to blend both skills into meaningful reporting and film making. She has done commercial videography and summer internships at places like the New York Film Academy and, in summer 2013, Jane Street Entertainment of New York, N.Y.

JoyChang photoJoy (Chia-Yu) Chang, a master's student in journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa assists IowaWatch with public relations and marketing. She formerly was a campus journalist at the National Cheng-Chi University in Taiwan and worked for the university's Institute for International Relations as a research assistant for one year. E-mail:

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.

Katelynn McColloughKatelynn McCollough is editor in chief of the Iowa State Daily and a summer 2013 IowaWatch intern. She continues to work on a project this school year for IowaWatch while fulfilling her duties at the Daily, and is helping other Daily staff members with joint Daily/IowaWatch projects. She previously was managing editor of content, assistant news editor and a reporter at the Daily, an assistant senior editor and a reporter for Ethos Magazine and a director/tech director for WCTV. She is a member of the First Amendment Day committee at ISU.

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.



Emily HoernerEmily Hoerner spent the first part of 2013 working on a project with Crain's Chicago Business before taking a job with Americorps in the Chicago area.

MacKenzie Elmer is a staff reporter at The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA).

Guannan Huang
, a native of Jiangxi Province, China, is working for a news magazine in China and doing freelance writing.

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 and 2012. He is a copy editor at


HayleyMug2Hayley Bruce is a multimedia journalist with SourceMedia Group of Iowa, which owns The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) and She was an assistant editor at IowaWatch in 2012-13.

Laura Arny, a former public information officer for IowaWatch, is in an internship with Common Cause Massachusetts in Boston.


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


Sujin Kim,
an IowaWatch reporter in 2012, graduated from the University of Iowa in December 2011 and returned to her native South Korea.

Robert Maharry
Robert Maharry
reported for IowaWatch in 2012-13. His first job out of college is as a reporter at the Conrad Record, with the Mid America Publishing group in Iowa.

Lamia ZiaLamia Zia, who focused on documentary and multimedia journalism in spring 2013 at IowaWatch, is teaching as an adjunct in the University of Texas-Tyler journalism program.

Rebekah Hoeger is a University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication student who was with IowaWatch in 2011 and 2012 before moving to DITV at the UI and an internship at KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, IA.


Dana Davidsen, a reporter in fall 2011, is a production assistant at CNN.

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.