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A Pakistani journalist describes her investigation into the murder of Pakistan’s first social media celebrity

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks to the Pakistani journalist, now in residence with the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Sanam Maher. She is just one of the latest batch of writers from around the world who’ve just arrived in Iowa. Director of the International Writing Program, Christopher Merrill, also introduces the other established writers taking part in the residency program.

Before that, Iowa Public Radio's Natalie Krebs talks about how Iowa's COVID-19 infection rate could start to temporarily decline next week. Reporter Cleo Krejci details the story of the native Iowan who made headlines this week as the Facebook whistleblower. And new MacArthur Fellow, Daniel Alarcón, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop talks about his life's work publishing books, writing for The New Yorker and producing NPR's Spanish podcast Radio Ambulante.


  • Natalie Krebs, reporter, Iowa Public Radio
  • Cleo Krejci, reporter, Iowa City Press-Citizen
  • Daniel Alarcón, host of Radio Ambulante, graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, recipient of a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship
  • Sanam Maher, non-fiction writer, journalist, resident, the International Writing Program, University of Iowa
  • Christopher Merrill, director, the International Writing Program, University of Iowa
  • Mark Simmet, host, Studio One, Iowa Public Radio
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa