University of Northern Iowa professor Anelia Dimitrova expected the coronavirus would cause a two-week spring break extension – not a swift end to campus life and the beginning of teaching online. She thought it was odd, she said, when one of her students noted in March that their last class before spring break could be their last meeting in person.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, or IowaWatch, is pleased to announce three new members to the Board of Directors. Rose Rennekamp, Alan Swanson and Linh Ta join a group of volunteers that guides the nonpartisan news nonprofit that works with students to develop investigative and explanatory news stories provided for free to Iowa news outlets. Linh Ta, who joined the board in March 2019, is a business reporter specializing in retail at the Des Moines Register. She was born and raised in West Des Moines and graduated from Valley High School in 2011. She moved north to attend school and study political science at the University of Northern Iowa and work as the executive editor of the student paper, the Northern Iowan.
An opportunity exists on March 5 for journalists and students interested in environmental communication to network, explore issues with researchers, promote environmental journalism and strengthen the capacity for regional environmental reporting in Iowa and the Midwest. The day-long “The Climate of Environmental Journalism: A Regional Summit” is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Drake Community Library in Grinnell. IowaWatch is a summit cosponsor with the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies. IowaWatch is focusing on public health issues in 2019. Participation in the summit is available free of charge but registration is required by Feb.
Nine of every 10 public school districts in Iowa have buildings within 2,000 feet of a farm field, making students and teachers susceptible to being exposed to pesticides that drift from the fields when pesticides are sprayed. Yet many school officials interviewed for an IowaWatch/Tiger Hi-Line investigation showed little to no awareness on if or how pesticide drift could affect the staff and students in school buildings.
ByZoe Seiler, Jace Neugebauer, Lauren Wade and K. Rambo |
Dylan Miller spent $495 on college textbooks at the University of Northern Iowa – $167.50 for a linear algebra textbook – in the spring semester just ending, yet said he might have used the books, perhaps, once a month. The internet? Used it close to two hours each day, he said, raising the issue of why he still buys textbooks. “That’s a great question,” Miller, 20, a sophomore this spring semester from Homestead, Iowa, and studying for a major in actuarial science, said. “I will not be buying textbooks next semester.”
A lot of college students are avoiding textbooks costs that generally can range from around $20 for a book on writing grant proposals to $400 for a physics book, a spring IowaWatch/College Media Journalism Project revealed.
Q: How much did you pay for all textbooks, hardcopy and e-textbooks, this semester
Sarah Timmerman: For the fall semester, I paid $125 and then for the spring, I paid $80. Together, that’s $205 for this entire year. Sarah Timmerman, 20
University of Northern Iowa
Spring 2018 sophomore
Hometown: Clive, Iowa
Major: Elementary Education, special education minor
Q: What was your most expensive book? Timmerman: My most expensive books were for Russia/the Soviet Union. They were each about $35.
University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook said a proposed mid-year funding cut for the University of Iowa and Iowa State University but not the University of Northern Iowa reflects each university’s distinct mission, not favoritism. This IowaWatch Connection podcast covers that and other topics in an interview with Nook.
Each Thanksgiving we like to bring out this news quiz about Thanksgiving weekend football at Iowa colleges, given that the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa and Wartburg College football teams are on the schedule this year. The state of Iowa’s history of Thanksgiving football goes back quite a few years. How far? Find out in this IowaWatch news quiz.
We at IowaWatch are raising funds to pay stipends to more than a dozen student journalists from six Iowa campuses in an IowaWatch/College Media reporting project. These journalists are interviewing students, faculty members and administrators to learn about this topic and to report it to you later during this spring.