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IowaWatch news organization names new leader

Native Iowa journalist succeeds retiring director

Suzanne Behnke (Supplied photo)
Suzanne Behnke (Supplied photo)
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A journalist with deep reporting and editing experience at Iowa publications, including the Des Moines Register and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, will take over later this year as executive director of IowaWatch, the nonprofit investigative and explanatory news organization.

Suzanne Behnke, who starts in August, will succeed Lyle Muller, who is retiring after leading IowaWatch since 2012. Muller previously worked for 25 years at The Gazette, capping his career at the newspaper as its editor.

“Journalism and its future are my professional passions, and IowaWatch will allow me to work in both areas,” Behnke, an Iowa native, said in a statement. “There’s tremendous potential for IowaWatch to grow in depth and breadth so it can serve readers for years to come.”

Behnke has been an editor and contributor at the Des Moines Business Record since 2017. She also is a journalism and communications instructor at Simpson College in Indianola.

Previously, she worked as reporter, copy editor and page designer for the Waterloo Courier and held leadership roles, including front page editor, state editor and an online editor, at the Register.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Wartburg College and a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University.

IowaWatch trains future journalists to write investigative and explanatory articles offered for free to Iowa news outlets, including The Gazette.

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It publishes stories at IowaWatch.org, produces the IowaWatch Connection radio program and hosts public forums.

Public donations, which can be made through iowawatch.org, are an important source of income for the organization’s mission.

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