IowaWatch – The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism has an opening for a full-time 10-week reporting internship for summer 2021. College students or graduate-level applicants are welcome. “For the last year during the pandemic, IowaWatch focused on working with groups of college students in courses and student media rather than offering an internship,” said Suzanne Behnke, executive director. “It’s been rewarding to work with a few dozen students across Iowa. Yet I look forward to working and mentoring a single student on their reporting.”
You may read here the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism’s 990 tax return for 2019. It covers our work at the IowaWatch.org news website and our educational programming for student journalists who produce in-depth reporting with IowaWatch staff journalists.
Suzanne Behnke, executive director of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism and its news outlet, IowaWatch, has been named to the Institute for Nonprofit News Emerging Leaders Council. INN announced Thursday, May 21, that Behnke is among 11 leaders selected for the third Emerging Leaders Council, which identifies and supports leaders who will advance the nonprofit news sector throughout the next decade.
Suzanne Behnke, IowaWatch executive director-editor
“This is a terrific opportunity to network, to support nonprofit news and to find ways to strengthen IowaWatch,” Behnke said. “I am excited to join a terrific group of journalists.”
Behnke joined the Center in 2019 after spending two years at the Des Moines Business Record, where she was an editor and contributor. She also is a journalism and communications instructor at Simpson College in Indianola. Behnke, a native Iowan, has a long and rich news reporting and editing history in the state. She was a reporter, copy editor and page designer at The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier from 1997 to 2000 before joining The Des Moines Register staff.
We’re digging into the stressful toll of wildfires, hurricanes and floods — and now COVID-19 on top of them. We need your help. Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States, creating scenes traumatic and, increasingly, familiar. Deadly firestorms throughout the West. Historic floods in the Farm Belt. Catastrophic hurricanes with record rains in the South and along the East Coast.
Simpson students get to practice journalism of statewide impact when they report and write at IowaWatch, the nonprofit news source that covers public affairs in the Hawkeye State, shares Brian Steffen, chair of the journalism department at Simpson College. Suzanne Behnke, the executive director of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism and an adjunct instructor of Multimedia Communication at Simpson, comes on the “Speaking of Simpson” podcast this week to talk about her work with IowaWatch and how it involves student journalists with real journalism that has real impact. Listen here.
IowaWatch honored an outstanding journalist and long-time advocate for newspapers during its seventh annual banquet Thursday night, Sept. 26, at the Des Moines Marriot Downtown. Carol Hunter was given the Stephen Berry Free Press Champion Award for a working journalist, journalism group or journalism educator in Iowa. Margaret Johnson was given the Randy Brubaker Free Press Champion Award for an Iowan who has done significant open records work over several years in a role other than journalism. Hunter has been at the Des Moines Register for nearly 15 years, serving as political editor, news director and now as the executive editor of the state’s largest newspaper.
The Iowa Freedom of Information Council this week announced the 2019 recipients of its Friend of the First Amendment Award, which is given each year in memory of longtime Iowa Press Association and Iowa Daily Press Association journalist Harrison “Skip” Weber. This year’s recipients are the mother of a police shooting victim and two Iowa newspaper editors. They will be honored on Sept. 26 during the annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government banquet in Des Moines. (click the button to buy a banquet ticket)
The recipients are:
Brian Cooper, the longtime editor of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, through the years has been one of Iowa’s leading voices on the important role public access to government records and meetings plays in our democracy and in ensuring government accountability.
National Political Reporter Jenna Johnson To Headline Celebrating A Free Press And Open Government Banquet
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.
Inside The Reporter’s Notebook: Revealing Alarming Deaths At Institution For Severely Disabled Iowans
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.