Governor's "weekly" press conferences less frequent, less accessible

Governor Kim Reynolds promised during last year’s campaign to resume weekly press conferences if elected. But 34 weeks into 2019, the governor has held only fourteen press conferences this year.

In addition, the governor’s office has not posted video of Reynolds answering questions from journalists on any publicly accessible platform since December. That’s a departure from past practice.

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Iowa strategist Jeff Link: "I deeply regret" participating in Mark Halperin book

Iowa Democratic strategist Jeff Link regrets providing comments for Mark Halperin’s forthcoming book, he told Bleeding Heartland.

Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer were first to report on August 18 that Link was among “more than 75 top Democratic strategists” Halperin interviewed for How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take. News of the book deal provoked outrage due to Halperin’s long history of sexually harassing and assaulting women, which became public knowledge in October 2017.

The founder of the Des Moines-based Link Strategies political consulting and public relations firm said in an August 20 e-mail,

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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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America’s invisible working class

In this essay adapted from his book No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class, Christopher Martin notes that “the whole of the working class is hardly ever presented or imagined by the U.S. news media,” and that Donald Trump benefits from how the media typically cover labor issues. -promoted by Laura Belin

Three weeks after his surprising victory on election day, November 8, 2016, Donald Trump had what might be known one day as the best day of his presidency. And with his swearing-in ceremony still weeks away, he wasn’t officially even president yet.

On November 29, Trump confidently tweeted hints of a dramatic conclusion to reports that he had been in discussion with executives at Carrier Corporation in Indiana to save hundreds of jobs that were scheduled to be exported to a new assembly facility in Mexico: “I will be going to Indiana on Thursday to make a major announcement concerning Carrier A.C. staying in Indianapolis. Great deal for workers!”

That Thursday, December 1, Trump arrived in Indianapolis. The video, which was frequently replayed in TV news stories, shows him among more than twenty men in suits, striding triumphantly through the Carrier furnace assembly floor with his black overcoat and too-long red tie. Trump took the platform in front of a white backdrop dotted with oval blue Carrier logos and announced he was saving a lot of jobs: “Actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great.”

Although Trump has been quick to blast the mainstream news media as “fake news” whenever it does not serve his interests, he has greatly benefited from two problematic ways in which the news has recently and historically framed its coverage of the working class. First, the news media usually look at the working class only through the lens of a political news story, not through the lens of a labor or workplace story. Second, the news media typically consider the “working class” not in its entirety, but just in the stereotypical white male form, which nicely serves the purposes of divisive politicians who seek to exploit this image and divide working-class people on every other dimension: race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and citizenship.

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