Axios Des Moines newsletter taking shape

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.

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Perhaps Justice should rear its head, too

Herb Strentz comments on reactions to George Floyd’s killing, including “a white person’s headline” in the Sunday Des Moines Register. -promoted by Laura Belin

Ten reactions to the killing of George Floyd and protests around the nation, including, of course, in Des Moines:

1. Recall the names of four kids: Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Carol Denise McNair (11). We’ll get back to them later.

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Dark money stains the Senate primary

Susan Nelson spoke to Mike Franken about claims made in an attack ad funded by a group supporting Theresa Greenfield. -promoted by Laura Belin

The polling must be tightening up in the U.S. Senate primary.  A tsunami of dark money is washing up on our TV screens. Women Vote!, the political arm of EMILY’s List, is spending $1 million to attack Admiral Michael Franken on behalf of the Democratic establishment favorite, Theresa Greenfield.

Their ad claims that Mike Franken is a former Republican, an accusation that was flung at Elizabeth Warren every day in the 2020 primary campaign. If true, I am not so sure that would be a bad thing in a general election in Iowa, and it did not seem to hurt Warren. Republican support and donations have not hurt J.D. Scholten either. They also attack Franken for being a defense contractor, and accuse him of being a carpetbagger, an attack Warren received during her first Senate campaign.

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Trump valiant in fight against virus — April Fool!

Herb Strentz: Are there really two sides to every story, when the issues may be far more complex than that or one side is a flat-out lie? -promoted by Laura Belin

On April Fool’s day, a USA TODAY editorial-page package offered this appraisal to millions of readers, including those of the Des Moines Register: “From the outset, President Donald Trump pledged to put the full weight of the federal government behind combating this crisis and protecting the health and safety of our fellow citizens.”

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COVID-19 already depleting Iowa journalism ranks

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has drawn massive public attention in recent weeks, with Americans visiting more news sites, clicking more on stories about the virus, and spending more time taking in those articles.

But as new unemployment claims hit record levels and huge numbers of businesses are temporarily shut or attracting far fewer customers, advertising revenue has plummeted. Large national media organizations are taking a hit in revenue, Marc Tracy reported for the New York Times on March 20, and “The outlook is worse for local news websites, daily newspapers in midsize cities and weekly papers across the country, which typically rely on now-struggling neighborhood businesses for the bulk of their advertising.”

That group includes Iowa newspapers. The cutbacks are already affecting coverage at our state’s most influential media outlet.

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