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IowaWatch, an Iowa-based news nonprofit, is joining Investigate Midwest and will have a new focus reporting on agriculture.
The Iowa team will center its coverage on “accountability, investigative and enterprise reporting centered on agriculture and related issues such as labor and environment as well as rural issues,” according to a news release from the groups.
“As colleagues for many years, IowaWatch and Investigate Midwest have naturally gravitated toward the common goal of deeply covering rural communities and Midwest issues often unseen and unreported,” said Pam Dempsey, executive director for Investigate Midwest, based in Champaign, Ill.
The newsroom will retain IowaWatch's educational mission of training young journalists, a key part of Investigate Midwest’s work.
“As we close this chapter in IowaWatch’s history, we’re thrilled for this opportunity to bolster our reporting for Iowans by joining Investigate Midwest,” said Jim Malewitz, the outgoing IowaWatch board president.
Suzanne Behnke, who joined IowaWatch in August 2019, will lead Investigate Midwest’s Iowa newsroom, which will soon expand.
Beginning in June, an Iowa-based reporter will represent Investigate Midwest as one of 10 partner newsrooms, including The Gazette, that will join the Missouri School of Journalism’s Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk.
Mary Ungs-Sogaard, IowaWatch’s business development director, will stay on with Investigate Midwest.
Two longtime IowaWatch board members will join Investigate Midwest’s board of directors: Lyle Muller, a former Gazette editor who became IowaWatch’s first full-time executive director-editor in 2012; and Erin Jordan, a Gazette investigative reporter and IowaWatch board’s past president.
Founded in 2010 by Stephen J. Berry, a Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist, and Robert Gutsche Jr. while they worked at the University of Iowa, IowaWatch grew into the state’s leading collaborative investigative nonprofit news organization. More than 100 news organizations, including The Gazette, have republished or aired its stories.