Journalism & Media

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Technology Is playing an increasingly active role in our political climate. Social media and other technological communications systems make it easier for people to engage with candidates, increase opportunities for offline political mobilization, and provide access to an unprecedented amount of news and information.

Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan

This summer, the University of Iowa’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Iowan, celebrates 150 years serving the Iowa City community.

“It doesn’t matter how you deliver a story; if it’s a great story people will read it. College students at The Daily Iowan have been writing great stories for 150 years, and they will be for a long time,” says Bill Casey, publisher of the Daily Iowan from 1976 to 2016. He oversaw tremendous growth at the paper, received a number of awards for his work, and mentored many students. 

Eric McCollum

Scott Cawelti has been writing a column in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area for more than 40 years. But, in a recent column he announced his decision to put down the editorial pen.

Cawelti started his editorializing with an admiration of longtime Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, and delivered three pieces to what was then the Cedar Falls Record. "And by golly, people liked them. I mean, sort of, enough to keep me going a while," says Cawelti.

Gage Skidmore

The movie Black Panther features a cast full of strong black characters, both male and female. Its release is a powerful moment for many people who have longed to see themselves and their culture reflected on screen.

“I never saw that [growing up],” says Noreen Naseem Rodriguez, an assistant professor of elementary social studies at Iowa State University. “It’s so important, especially as an educator, to provide those mirrors to children, to affirm them, to show them that you have different options in life.”

Vintage Books

For more than 25 years, U.S. TV viewers have been captivated by "reality television," watching "real people" in supposedly unscripted events.  Author Lucas Mann is not immune to this guilty pleasure.

Keith Trice

As NPR reporter Sarah McCammon headed to Florida to report on what would be the fourth mass shooting she's covered, she posted this to Twitter:

@sarahmccammon - “Just boarded a flight to go cover a mass shooting - for the second time in less than 5 months (and of course there have been so many others in between). And on a day that's about celebrating love (and for Christians, a holy day).”

McCammon says that when she sent that tweet, she was thinking about how commonplace these shooting have become, "and how morbidly mundane it’s become."

"It’s never mundane when someone’s life is lost, but we’re used to it. We have a whole routine, and what a terrible thing to have a routine about - how to respond to a dozen or more people killed in one fell swoop for no good reason," she says.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with McCammon about on the importance of bearing witness to tough, heart-wrenching news events – even when and perhaps especially when it's tempting to tune out. 

"We can get really numb to this because it happens so much. I mean, obviously we all have to take care of ourselves, and you can only focus on these things so much at one time, […] but I think if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t hear from the families who have lost their children, if we don’t hear from the survivors who witness these crimes, we won’t fully understand what is going on," McCammon says.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe goes behind the scenes to get to know some personalities behind the news and discussions on Iowa Public Radio.

Nebbe talks with statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell, producer and host Dennis Reese, and River to River host Ben Kieffer about how they got into public radio, some of the most valuable experiences in their careers, and how they have seen radio change.

John S / Flickr

 THIS PROGRAM ORIGINALLY AIRED ON MAY 23, 2017

Anonymous sources have played a big role in the flurry of reporting and rapid-fire revelations surrounding the Trump administrations and investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign.

Michael Leland/IPR

John Naughton has been covering sports at the Des Moines Register for over 30 years. He has been to football, basketball, track and field, wrestling, baseball, and many other events across the state. On this Talk of Iowa, Host Charity Nebbe talks with Naughton about what the job has meant to him and what changes he has seen.

He says that it is important for sports reporters to remember that they are writing about real people that deserve respect. He says that one aspect of the work that has kept him doing it is that there are triumphant stories and interesting people.

An Evening with Tom Ashbrook

Nov 28, 2017
Madeleine King/Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Public Radio welcomed Tom Ashbrook of On Point with Tom Ashbrook to Ames, Iowa on Thursday, November 9. In a public Q & A with Iowa Public Radio's Morning Edition host Clay Masters, Ashbrook discussed growing up on a small farm in Illinois, working as a foreign correspondent, and joining NPR following the attacks of September 11. 

Ashbrook, known for his hard-hitting questions and a deep understanding of what's going on in the world, hosts two hour-long live radio shows five days a week. 

Alex Hanson/IPR

New technology has dramatically changed how we communicate and interact, and Michael Bugeja says that in doing so, it may slowly be eroding some of our core principles.  Professor Bugeja of Iowa State University's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication joins host Ben Kieffer during this hour of River to River

Rappaport Center / Flickr

Are fake news, alternative facts, and lies disguised as truths overwhelming our notions of reality?

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of the public radio program On The Media and author of the new book, The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time.

In it, Gladstone talks about the threats to democracy caused by people’s “filtered reality," especially in a constantly changing media landscape.

The History Press

On Dec. 12, 1934, police raided a canning factory in Cedar Rapids--what they found was an illegal bar and gambling set up.  That incident set off a year-long investigation into graft that reached into all levels of Iowa State government.  It was all driven by Verne Marshall, the editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.  Jerry Harrington, an Iowa City writer of Iowa history, tells the story in his new book, "Crusading Iowa Journalist Verne Marshall: Exposing Graft and the 1936 Pulitzer Prize." (History Press)

IPR's Emily Woodbury

Still printed on a 19-century letterpress printing machine in Anamosa, IA, publisher Tim Fay has just released his 23rd issue of "The Wapsipinicon Almanac."  It's a homegrown, homemade journal and features essays, stories and articles by Iowa writers.  The first issue was published in 1988 and you can't order it or read it online.  You'll have to find it in a bookstore or other shop.

Iowa Public Television

Dean Borg has hosted Iowa Public Television's public affairs program Iowa Press since 1972. Next week, he retires as the regular host of the program.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer asks Borg to reflect on more than four decades of Iowa news and political interviews, including his interview with President Jimmy Carter and the two Bushes who would eventually become presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Daniel R. Blume / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

The 1976 film, "All the President's Men," glamorized investigative journalism. The movie won four Academy Awards, was nominated for Best Picture and inspired a generation of investigative journalists. This year another film, "Spotlight," tells the story of an investigative team at The Boston Globe, who uncovered the Catholic Church's pattern of protecting priests accused of child sexual abuse. Will it spark the same inspiration in an industry facing financial struggles, that is growing increasingly fragmented and driven by a need to fill a 24-hour news hole?

Evan Vucci, AP

Republican candidate Donald Trump made a practice of criticizing the media at his campaign rallies, even calling out some journalists by name. That criticism was greeted by booing, jeering and worse from the crowds. NPR political reporter Sarah McCammon was there for all of it. She spoke with Trump supporters throughout the campaign and witnessed the Trump campaign’s relationship with the media.

Courtesy of Joe Palca

During the 25 years he has been with NPR, Joe Palca has covered everything from biomedical research to astronomy.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Palca about the process of science and how its findings get communicated to the public. They also discuss his latest series Joe’s Big Idea, which explores the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

Daniel R. Blume / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Objectivity, fairness and balance are values that have long guided journalism. But in our rapidly changing media environment, where affirmation is only a click away, do readers, listeners and viewers really want news that adheres to those values? The leaders of three Iowa journalism schools say they do.

Tony Webster, Portland, Oregon / Wikimedia Commons

A landmark piece of legislation that assures public access to government documents turns 50 on July 4th. President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation in 1966, without so much as a statement, just avoiding a pocket veto. That reluctance set the stage for a love/hate relationship between presidential administrations and the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

Flickr / Ken Lund

Friday morning, the Iowa Supreme Court is expected to release a decision that could dramatically weaken Iowa’s open meeting’s law.

Two years ago the Warren County Board of Supervisors decided to lay off 12 county employees.

The three-member panel did not deliberate in person or through email. Rather they reached their unanimous decision by having the county administrator relay messages among the three board members. 

By communicating this way, the board supervisors hoped to skirt the state’s open meeting’s law.

Flickr / mcfarlandmo

Today marks the beginning of “Sunshine Week", an observation of the public’s right to access information. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council is reminding officials that a higher level of transparency is part of the territory that comes with holding elected office.

Reese Erlich

There are interviews you spend hours sweating over, and then there are situations like the one faced by award-winning foreign correspondent Reese Erlich on a recent trip to Jordan. That's where he interviewed Abu Qatada, once described as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand-man in Europe before he was deported from the UK to Jordan in 2013.

Erlich says he had 20 minutes to prepare. The interview was hastily arranged by another of Al Qaeda's top leaders. Erlich says Qatada wanted to talk about human rights violations by the Assad regime in Syria, and by the U.S.

Courtesy of the Justice Corps of Iowa / Facebook

With comic books, science fiction, and superheroes, geek culture is having a moment. Phil Hester, a comic book illustrator and author from North English, Ia, says that is due to its traction in mainstream movies.

“Now all this stuff that you couldn’t dream of looking real, sounding real, and moving in a real way, now can be done on screen. That has opened it up to a sea of people that wouldn’t be caught dead walking in a comic book store.”

Jad Abumrad on Unanswered Questions and Making Concepts Dance

Apr 2, 2015
PopTech / flickr

What does a shrimp sees when it looks at a rainbow? How well can we really know the minds of animals? Why do we blink?

These are some of the questions that Radiolab creator and co-host, Jad Abumrad, tackles with each episode of his show.

Sadle Hernandez / Flickr

In 2015, nearly everyone has a camera in their back pocket. Is there still a need to employ photographers? 

David Guttenfelder, an Iowa native who grew up in Waukee and was named Time’s 2013 Instagram photographer of the year for his coverage of everyday life in North Korea, says 'yes.' Good photographers just have to integrate cell phone camera into their professional work.

“I started just carrying my phone as my second camera to be creative,”  Guttenfelder said. 

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has been suspended without pay for six months. Jon Stewart says he’s leaving The Daily Show.

Luc De Leeuw / flickr

On this segment of River to River, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism.

Anita Sarkeesian

This month, the video game industry has found itself at the center of a dispute that's led to intense debate under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.

Daniel Rehn

When University of Iowa associate professor Kembrew McLeod wrote in protest of the university's pink locker room, he expected some hate-mail, but he was not prepared for how much the comments would hurt.

Responses like "I speak for the state of Iowa in saying that we detest you at a molecular level" and "Honestly, I do hope this guy gets beat up" can really "wear on one’s psyche," he says.

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