IOWA CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS JOURNALISM

A Vision for a Public-Spirited Free Press

aka IowaWatch   |   Urbandale, IA   |  www.iowawatch.org

Mission

To be Iowa’s leading collaborative investigative news organization. (Revised and adopted December 2018)

Notes from the nonprofit

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch welcomed new partnerships with new funders and journalism partners in 2021 while transitioning to dual leadership, with an editor and a business development director sharing oversight of the organization.

Ruling year info

2010

Principal Officer

Suzanne Behnke

Business Development Director

Mary Ungs-Sogaard

Main address

3109 146th Street

Urbandale, IA 50323 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-1942963

NTEE code info

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch exists to fill a gap created when traditional newsrooms eliminated reporting positions, especially resource-consuming positions dedicated to deep investigative reporting. It exists to better inform people about news that affects them. It also exists to train, as mentors and editors, new journalists emerging from college to go deeper into their pursuit of the truth. The public is calling on journalists to be truth-seekers who set aside predisposed notions and biases and accurately report what is happening in their democracy. We answer that call.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Investigative and Public Affairs Reporting

Provide edited, multimedia investigative and public affairs news from Iowa free to newspapers, websites, television newsrooms, radio newsrooms and other media; and also on the website www.IowaWatch.org

Population(s) Served
Adults

One-on-one editing and mentoring of student journalists at participating Iowa universities and colleges.

Population(s) Served
Students
Adults

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Institute for Nonprofit News member 2010

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We are guided by our mission, vision and core values:
THE MISSION
To be Iowa’s leading collaborative investigative news organization.
OUR VISION
To lead investigative journalism in Iowa through collaboration, training of future journalists and efforts to increase the understanding of the role of journalism in a democracy.
CORE VALUES
At the heart of the Iowa Center’s work are core values, which are the means by which the Iowa Center will achieve its vision. These values drive how the Iowa Center operates internally as well has how it functions in its external environment.
- Truth: The Iowa Center will ensure that vetted, verified information is at the heart of its work.
- Democracy: The work of the Iowa Center and others similarly engaged is critical to maintaining a well-informed public, productive public discourse, and, therefore, a strong democracy.
- Education: The Iowa Center trains journalists and media organizations in the art and science of investigative journalism, and it educates the public on issues related to media consumption.
- Collaboration: The Iowa Center believes in the power of collaboration—with journalists, media organizations, and other communities.

Our strategic plan, adopted in February 2017, has the following goals:
EDUCATION
• Maintain and possibly expand programs with colleges and universities, and high schools, to train future investigative journalists
• Explore possible Iowa Newspaper Foundation partnerships to work with high school students
• Develop investigative journalism training for current journalists
• Demonstrate how to consume fact-driven news and distinguish fake news
• Develop strategies for combating a current war on media
INNOVATION
• Pursue innovative, disruptive approaches
• Develop a stronger, broader network of individuals and organizations that value, demand, and use Iowa Center products and services
• Develop creative new approaches to fundraising, including new events
SUSTAINABLE FINANCIAL HEALTH
• Develop new product and service revenue streams
• Cultivate relationships with potential long-term funders
• Establish financial thresholds for adding staff roles
• Consider crowdfunding

Our organization has two paid journalism positions, a paid independent contractor and several volunteer journalists and public relations specialists, plus a committed board of directors and several media partners willing to work with us.

The Iowa Center – guided by a Board of Directors comprised of news professionals, educators and business professionals – has developed a network of print, broadcast and online news partners for collaboration and distribution of stories. More than 100 news organizations annually republish or air stories by the Center.

The Center is led by an executive director-editor, who serves as the principal executive officer of the center, the primary contact with the Board of Directors and the public face of the organization.

For more, see our Annual Report.

IowaWatch has published or aired more than 600 explanatory and/or investigative, multi-media stories since its first story on May 29, 2010. It also has published more than 100 stories with nonprofit journalism partners.

In 2017, 120 media outlets published or aired an IowaWatch story 1,475 times. Media partners included The Des Moines Register, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), The Hawk Eye (Burlington, IA), The Courier (Waterloo, IA) and others; Iowa Public Radio; and a network of 19 other Iowa radio stations. The weekly, statewide IowaWatch Connection radio program won eight Iowa Broadcast News Association awards for its 2017 programs.

Collaborative training relationships involve student journalists from Grinnell College, the University of Northern Iowa, Buena Vista University, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Cornell College, Simpson College, Drake University, Loras College, Mount Mercy University and William Penn University.

For more, see our Annual Report.

Financials

IOWA CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS JOURNALISM
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

IOWA CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS JOURNALISM

Board of directors
as of 12/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Erin Jordan

The Gazette Company

Term: 2017 - 2021


Board co-chair

Jim Malewitz

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Term: 2019 - 2022

Andy Hall

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Erin Jordan

The Gazette Company

Daniel Lathrop

The Des Moines Register

Jim Malewitz

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Heather Spangler

University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Rose Rennekamp

Retired marketing executive

Steve Ridge

Media consultant

Lyle Muller

Retired, former executive director/editor, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism

Katelynn McCollough

Davis Brown Law Firm

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/08/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability