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.”

Continue Reading...

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.

Continue Reading...

News you cannot, should not use

Some advice from Ira Lacher, who spent two decades working on newspapers. -promoted by Laura Belin

Quit looking at the news!

That seems to be counterintuitive in an era when we are crying out for the latest information. But that’s the point: We’re mostly not getting good information. What we’re getting is a lot of speculation, and that’s driving us nuts, or, as many mental health professionals assert, into anxiety and depression — which makes us even more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

Continue Reading...

COVID-19 crisis underscores how vital information is

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. -promoted by Laura Belin

We have all become acutely aware in the past few weeks why masks and face shields, respirators and ventilators are so important for hospital workers and their patients.

The supply is not keeping up with the need, and that could have dire consequences for the doctors, nurses, and patients.

Likewise, the novel coronavirus crisis has underscored the importance of another valuable commodity — access to accurate, authoritative information.

Continue Reading...

Am I a member of the media? Iowa Republican leaders still say no

A number of readers and some journalists have asked me recently whether I was able to resolve the credentialing problems I experienced last year.

The short answer is no. Despite being warned that their press credentialing policies “suffer from serious constitutional deficiencies,” leaders in the Iowa House and Senate and staff in Governor Kim Reynolds’ office continue to deny me access to resources they provide to most other reporters who cover state government.

Continue Reading...

Regarding the fate of the Iowa caucuses, the real point has been missed

“Bill from White Plains” is very familiar with the Iowa caucuses, including the 2020 caucus chair training and process in precincts on February 3. -promoted by Laura Belin

I write to provide a friendly counterpoint to Ira Lacher’s February 4 post–and frankly, every article and opinion piece I have read–regarding the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus. For all of the belly-aching, I think the real point has been missed.

Mr. Lacher remarked, “This year the party introduced ‘preference cards,’ with complex rules on when to fill them out, how to fill them out and to whom to submit them and when.” Like myself, Mr. Lacher hails from the Empire State, New York. Because of this, I must respond, “Did I tell you to fill out the card? I didn’t? Then don’t fill the card out yet. What’s-a-matter-with-you?”

The point was not the preference cards. The point was not the failed reporting software. The point was not all the reasons Bleeding Heartland listed as caucus deficiencies. The point was that the emporer has no clothes.

Iowa committed the cardinal sin of disrupting the international media, which lost sight of its place, and which is now arrogantly revolting.

Continue Reading...
View More...