The board of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism (IowaWatch) seeks an energetic, driven executive director. IowaWatch is Iowa’s leading public-affairs multimedia news operation and the state’s most ambitious and productive nonprofit news center.  IowaWatch delivers investigative journalism in the spirit of public service and strives to help the public become more engaged and discriminating about news sources. IowaWatch is entering its 10th year, having moved from a nonprofit news startup to an organization of growing recognition and respect in the community.

Our ideal executive director is someone with a:

  • Rich background in public affairs news, which includes investigative and explanatory stories
  • Deep commitment to transparent government and to the importance of public-interest journalism, including its best practices and ethics.
  • Proven track record of fundraising success.
  • Nonprofit management/social entrepreneurship experience, with preference for experience in media and journalism, including in digital-first setting.
  • A dynamic, facilitative, and collaborative leadership style that will motivate staff and partner organizations to advance IowaWatch’s mission.
  • Experience in digital media and social networking, plus non-traditional and innovative content delivery.
  • Demonstrated ability to recruit and manage a diverse team with various levels of expertise and experience.
  • Experience managing relationships with diverse stakeholders.

The Position

The executive director will oversee a dynamic, flexible network of staff, student and freelance journalists who create original content and work collaboratively with other news organizations within the state and across the nation. The executive director will diversify and increase revenue streams to continue IowaWatch’s growth as a nonpartisan watchdog covering politics, the environment, health care, schools, taxes and state and local financing, state infrastructure, and much more.

The executive director’s overall job is to create an innovative organization that achieves the board’s ambition to develop a vehicle that ensures that high-quality public affairs news and information improves civic life and public-policy outcomes across Iowa.

The board of IowaWatch, through its bylaws, grants the executive director editorial autonomy and full control over the editorial staff. These responsibilities include strengthening and expanding the skills of journalists, building partnerships, commissioning and publishing new multiplatform content, keeping current on digital and social media trends, developing new audiences and serving as an incubator for innovative news-related public-policy projects. A strong knowledge of Iowa’s political and cultural history is ideal.

Fundraising to support our mission will be a major priority for the executive director. The new leader should expect to work with the board to develop sustainable revenue streams and build relationships through Iowa communities, both among private citizens and among organizations, businesses, clubs, and other groups.


  • Nurture and advance IowaWatch’s reputation for accurate, richly-sourced high-quality investigative and explanatory reporting on problems confronting Iowans.
  • Build and maintain funder relationships that yield sustainable revenue. Success in fundraising is essential.
  • Work with the board on implementation of the three-year strategic plan.
  • Develop and implement marketing plans, collaborative programs and innovative initiatives to engage the community, building a recognized public profile to ensure that the organization has the capacity to act as a watchdog on public-interest issues.
  • Oversee the growth of IowaWatch, engaging with public affairs and public-interest news and information services, as well as educational institutions.
  • Recruit and interact with the board on strategies, marketing, outreach, educational philosophy, and sustainability.
  • Develop budgets and set priorities for use in organizational planning, including hiring and partner support.
  • Supervise and edit the work of journalists of varying skill in the production of high-quality investigative news.
  • Develop a compelling digital strategy for reaching new readers and expanding IowaWatch’s online reach.

Initially, the executive director will work with the retiring executive director to learn IowaWatch’s organizational infrastructure, and then will rapidly take over full duties.


The IowaWatch Executive Director search committee will begin reviewing applications May 1. To apply, please submit:

  • A letter explaining your interest in IowaWatch.
  • A one-page, single-spaced memo explaining how you would implement IowaWatch’s strategic plan.
  • Résumé.
  • Three references. We encourage – but do not require – one reference provided by someone you supervised.

Send applications electronically to:

Erin Jordan, president, IowaWatch Board of Directors,