For the second year running, January will bring big changes to Iowa's media scene.
Jason Clayworth and Linh Ta will write the Axios Des Moines newsletter, set to launch during the first quarter of 2021. Clayworth is a longtime Des Moines Register reporter who has mostly done investigative work in recent years. Ta covered several beats for the Register before joining the Iowa Capital Dispatch reporting team in early 2020.
Des Moines is one of four locations Axios selected for newsletters that will come out every weekday morning. The editing team for the Axios Local newsletters will not be Iowa-based.
According to Axios communications director Megan Swiatkowski, "Axios Des Moines will deliver scoops, offer sharp insights and curate the best local reporting in our proven 'Smart Brevity®' style. This will cover local business, technology, education, politics, and any other issue front and center for Des Moines."
While some statewide and national topics may be included, she said, metro area news will remain the focus, with the goal of making "readers smarter, faster about Des Moines." You can sign up for the newsletter here.
The Des Moines Register's executive editor Carol Hunter told Bleeding Heartland on December 15 that the newspaper will maintain current reporting staff levels. Either someone new will be hired to fill Clayworth's position, or someone already at the Register will move into that investigative role, and another new journalist will be hired for a different beat.
Iowa Capital Dispatch editor-in-chief Kathie Obradovich said on December 16 that the job posting to replace Ta "should be up by the end of the week, and any prospective candidates can email me directly." (Her email is kobradovich AT iowacapitaldispatch.com.) Perry Beeman and Clark Kauffman also report for that website, "a nonprofit, independent source" focused on state government.
Brianne Pfannenstiel remains the Des Moines Register's chief politics reporter, and the newspaper's main statehouse correspondents in 2021 will be Stephen Gruber-Miller and Ian Richardson. Nick Coltrain has also been covering some of Governor Kim Reynolds' news conferences. Hunter noted that other reporters will work at the statehouse when developing news is relevant to their beats, "such as Tony Leys on health and Tyler Jett on jobs and economic development."
Barbara Rodriguez left the Des Moines Register's political reporting team in June 2020 to become the statehouses correspondent for the new jounalism project The 19th, "a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy."