IowaWatch, part of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, is an independent, non-partisan news source that produces and encourages explanatory and investigative journalism in Iowa through collaborative, multimedia reporting with Iowa news organizations. The Center also educates college students to do this kind of journalism at a high, professional level. We inform the public so that it can be armed with the knowledge necessary to play its role in a democracy.
As the first decade of the 21st Century was winding down some forward-thinking people in Iowa shared an idea – that a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization in this Midwest state could advance the notion that democracy is best served by a vibrant, free press casting a critical eye while examining public matters in depth. In February 2010 their effort resulted in the creation of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to in-depth investigative and public affairs reporting in Iowa, and being mentors to college students who want to learn how to do this kind of reporting at a high, ethical level.
Since then, the Center has published some 300 stories, the majority by college students; created a weekly radio program; helped produce a documentary aired by Iowa Public Television; and engaged Iowans in meaningful discussions about issues that impact our lives. In our seventh year of existence we can say that people who care about news in Iowa are learning to know us by the name IowaWatch.
IowaWatch engages audiences best when it makes personal visits to communities, giving presentations about the journalism it does and through a weekly radio program that airs on 21 radio stations -- 20 of them in Iowa. We get a chance to introduce ourselves to new people at public events, learn what they think, arm them with information they can use and, sometimes, add to the list of those supporting our work financially. Building an audience this way takes time but the visits are enjoyable and we believe we have made impressions during them.
Finding consistent, large financial backers whose support lets us spend more time on journalism than fund raising is a challenge, as is finding financial backers in a small state.
Midwest United States
Train journalism students to do investigative reporting at a high, professional level
Consumer and business affairs
Iowa Newspaper Association and Foundation, Iowa Freedom of Information Council
"Feds let 'puppy mill' stay open", Jan. 12, 2015, Des Moines Register editorial cites IowaWatch reports. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/01/12/feds-let-puppy-mill-stay-open/21582819/
"The straight-ticket option, partisanship and roll off," Jan. 1, 2015, item by The Early Voting Information Center of Reed College, Portland, OR, cites IowaWatch report on straight-ticket voting in Iowa. http://earlyvoting.net/commentary/the-straight-ticket-option-partisanship-and-roll-off/
"Iowa lottery indirectly funds education," Jan. 7, 2015, Business Record (Des Moines, IA), write-up on IowaWatch report about straight-ticket voting in Iowa. (Note: Several Iowa news outlets published the IowaWatch report in late December 2014 and early January 2015). http://www.businessrecord.com/Content/Default/-All-Latest-News/Article/IowaWatch-Iowa-Lottery-indirectly-funds-education/-3/248/67083
"IowaWatch report: Dog-breeding inspections increase, but with few inspectors," Dec. 28, 2014, Sioux City Journal. http://siouxcityjournal.com/iowawatchreport-dog-breeding-inspections-increase-but-with-few-inspectors/article_d81916a3-99a3-5b47-b0ca-4c8aeafa6f18.html
"Time to add teeth to texting-while-driving law," Dec. 30, 2014, The Courier (Waterloo, IA) editorial based on an IowaWatch report. http://wcfcourier.com/news/opinion/editorial/time-to-add-teeth-to-texting-while-driving-law/article_3e4d017a-1df5-52a3-b118-0a3a83e50bd2.html
"Serious violations of Animal Welfare Act doesn’t mean quick removal," Oct. 12, 2014, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) republication of IowaWatch report. http://thegazette.com/subject/news/serious-violations-of-animal-welfare-act-doesnt-mean-quick-removal-20141012
"Meth users still testing lawmakers," Nov. 29, 2014, Des Moines Register republication of IowaWatch report from two public forums held in conjunction with The Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen, UnityPoint Health of Des Moines and MECCA Services. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/2014/11/30/meth-users-still-testing-lawmakers/19629601/