Sunset on the Farm returns to support IowaWatch’s mission

Iowa City, Iowa – Corridor area residents are invited to enjoy great food, wine, music, and scenery at an annual fundraiser to support IowaWatch.org. Get tickets here. Sunset on the Farm will take place Thursday, September 23rd, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Walker Homestead just outside of Iowa City. 

This event will consist of unlimited pizza and salad, s’mores for dessert, access to a cash bar, a silent auction, and live music from the Mission Bluegrass Band. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children over 5. 

IowaWatch.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that provides Iowa’s news outlets with top-quality in-depth reporting for free while training future journalists. Tickets and other donations at Sunset on the Farm go toward supporting Iowa-focused investigative journalism such as the recent “Small Town Solutions” project. This is the first Sunset on the Farm since September 2019.

IowaWatch names new editor and adds veteran fundraiser

IowaWatch, or the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, has named Suzanne Behnke as its new editor, marking a transition for Behnke from executive director to a new role focused on developing high-impact investigative news and fostering collaborations. Mary Ungs-Sogaard

IowaWatch also has hired Mary Ungs-Sogaard, a proven fundraiser and long-time newspaper publisher in Eastern Iowa, as the news nonprofit’s business developer. The leaders will boost IowaWatch’s capacity to provide high-quality public affairs news and information that improves civic life and public policy outcomes across Iowa. “I am grateful to have a role with IowaWatch that allows me to focus on in-depth journalism and working with talented reporters and writers,” said Behnke. “This change plays to my strengths and to Mary’s.

IowaWatch joins national collaboration on rural education during COVID-19

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism – IowaWatch.org has been selected as a partner to report on how COVID-19 is changing and challenging rural school districts, the Institute for Nonprofit News reported. It is IowaWatch’s third reporting collaboration in the past year. “Our goal is to look at the smaller districts that have fewer resources and how they are meeting the challenges of learning during a global pandemic,” said Executive Director Suzanne Behnke. The Walton Family Foundation is providing a grant that will allow IowaWatch and other collaboration members, El Paso Matters, The Nevada Independent, New Mexico In-Depth, Scalawag, Underscore Media and Wisconsin Watch, to report and write on rural schools in their respective states during the 2020-2021 school year. The project will produce three reports by IowaWatch and by each member over the six months of the grant, at the start of the school year, toward the middle of the fall and a last installment toward the end of 2020.

Simpson podcast features IowaWatch’s work with students

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.

This #GivingTuesday, Consider IowaWatch

Dear Friends of IowaWatch,

I know you are being bombarded today with #GivingTuesday requests for support for your favorite charities. But I’d like to ask you to please consider giving a tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 or more today to our nonprofit, nonpartisan center so that we can continue good work that has been recognized this past year by groups such as the Iowa Broadcast News Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Thank you for helping us celebrate our fifth anniversary in 2015. This one-time experiment has published more than 290 explanatory and investigative, multimedia stories at IowaWatch.org and share those stories with others. Through November of this year 41 Iowa newspapers, 25 radio stations in our IowaWatch Connection radio network, two commercial television stations, Iowa Public Television, Iowa Public Radio and 52 news websites have republished or aired 33 IowaWatch stories 1,319 times.

Join Us Oct. 22 For A “Fun”-Raiser To Benefit IowaWatch

We are capping off our fifth anniversary celebrations with an autumn fundraiser at the beautiful Walker Homestead on the outskirts of Iowa City. Join us for wine, wood-fired pizza, live music and a silent auction with items ranging from original photography to international crafts and a catered dinner for 30.