Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2019 guest authors

More than 125 authors contributed to the 290 guest posts Bleeding Heartland published this calendar year–way up from the 202 pieces by about 100 writers in 2018 and the 164 posts by 83 writers the year before that. I’m immensely grateful for all the hard work that went into these articles and commentaries and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, such as John Morrissey’s exclusive reporting on Sedgwick landing a lucrative contract to administer Iowa’s worker’s compensation program for state employee, despite not submitting the high bid.

The most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post this year was Gwen Hope’s exclusive about the the Hy-Vee PAC donating $25,000 to the Iowa GOP, shortly before President Donald Trump headlined a Republican fundraiser at Hy-Vee’s event center in West Des Moines.

Several commentaries about major news events or political trends were also among the most widely read Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019. I’ve noted below pieces by Ed Fallon, Tim Nelson, Bruce Lear, Randy Richardson, J.D. Scholten, Dan Guild, State Senator Claire Celsi, and others that were especially popular. (This site has run more than 630 pieces since January 1.)

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A look to the Des Moines Register's future

Dale Alison was managing editor at The Hawk Eye for 27 years before being laid off in 2017, shortly after GateHouse Media bought the Burlington newspaper. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowans should be concerned that Gannett, owner of the newspaper they’re supposed to depend upon, has been swallowed by the smaller, lesser-known GateHouse Media.

Though the new company will adopt the Gannett brand (let’s call it new Gannett, compared to old Gannett), its DNA is certain to be GateHouse through and through. Despite what’s stated in company press releases, the company’s lineage is littered with bankruptcies, antiquated technology and deep staff cuts, particularly on the news side. The old Gannett had its own reputation for cost-cutting, but it was founded by a newspaperman, Frank Gannett, interested in covering his Upstate New York community. GateHouse was created by a Wall Street private equity fund only to make money.

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Dark days ahead for Iowa journalism

Old-timers often reminisce about how much better the Des Moines Register used to be, before Gannett arrived on the scene in 1985. The newspaper employed dozens more reporters and editors, had stringers in every Iowa county, top-tier journalists working in Washington, DC, and a powerful voice on the editorial page.

After several rounds of buyouts and layoffs, the Register has a much smaller newsroom, with no reporters on the ground in DC since 2011 and almost no stringers for more than a decade. The cutbacks have affected every aspect of coverage. The opinion page stopped running daily unsigned editorials in 2017. Last year, the Register “dropped the daily Business Page,” stopped running high school football scores in Saturday editions, and didn’t publish the midterm election results in print until Thursday, November 8.

Things are about to get worse at Iowa’s most important news organization.

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