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Behnke named executive director of IowaWatch


Former Des Moines Business Record Editor Suzanne Behnke has been tapped to become executive director for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, also known as IowaWatch. 

Behnke, who begins in August, succeeds Lyle Muller, who is retiring. Muller has led IowaWatch since 2012. Behnke was editor of the Business Record from May 2017 to February 2019, and is also a contributor to the publication.

In addition, Behnke is a journalism and communications instructor at Simpson College in Indianola. Behnke, who has a bachelor’s degree from Wartburg College and a master’s from Drake University, also was a reporter, copy editor and page designer at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier from 1997 to 2000. She joined the staff of the Des Moines Register in 2000, working there from 2000 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2017. Behnke had several roles at the Register, including front page editor, state editor and an online editor. IowaWatch, founded in 2010, is the state’s leading collaborative investigative nonprofit news organization.

The organization trains future journalists to write high-quality investigative and explanatory news stories offered for free to Iowa news outlets. “Leading in-depth journalism as a nonprofit organization is a labor of love and Suzanne has a lot of enthusiasm and great ideas for taking this on,” Muller said. “Suzanne’s background equips her to meet the challenges of investigative reporting and ensure the work is supported financially.” 

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