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Wish List for 2014: Iowa Media

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Wish List for 2014: Iowa Media

Geoff Wood

As we get ready to close the book on the year that was 2013 and look forward to the year will be in 2014, I’d like to take the opportunity to present a few things that I’d like to see come together for the Iowa startup community. This is the third of three posts aimed at different segments of our community: startups, investors, and media.

Media - we need more of you.

Undoubtedly you’ve figured out the overarching theme to the wish list at this point (the Iowa startup community needs to grow).

The Des Moines Register (DMR) and Silicon Prairie News (SPN)* are the only two publications that cover technology and startup news in our state on a weekly basis. We Create Here (a blog affiliated with The Cedar Rapids Gazette) that debuted in September looks to be on that path, too. Not coincidentally, these three are also the only publications in the state that have a writer specifically focused on tech/startup/entrepreneur stories. While it may not be feasible for other publications to put resources into a full-time writer, I’d love to see them add this industry as a focus (at least part-time). The Business Record does have a writer assigned to entrepreneurship/technology part-time (he has several beats and this is one of them). Unsurprisingly, they publish on the topic the next most often of any of the publications in the state.

In my first post in this series, I wished for cities other than Des Moines and Iowa City to become energetic “startup communities” and some people pushed back on that idea that their city wasn’t already in that group. A good first step in proving me wrong would be to get your local community news source to regularly report on startup activity.

Note: checkout the Welch Avenue Weekly'Iowa startup publication leaderboard for what outlets are writing the most and best content about our community.

The consistent coverage we’ve seen from outlets like SPN and DMR over the last few years has been important in facilitating the growth of our startup community to this point. Much of that coverage has been in the form of introductions to community members, introductions to new companies or stories prompted by press releases. In addition to continuing that work, I want to see those publications take a step forward and write more stories about real issues in the community, analysis of activity and more about Iowa’s connection to the global startup community.

Speaking of that connection (and this last point is on the startups themselves), it’s time for more Iowa startups to get coverage in the national publications. Dwolla is masterful at this, of course, as is Social Money/SmartyPig. In 2014 I’d like to read about other Iowa startups alongside them on blogs like TechCrunch, AllThingsD and PandoDaily. While that may be easier said than done it's certainly not impossible with the right hustle and connections.

*Disclosure: I joined SPN (then a hobby blog covering entrepreneurs in Omaha) as a volunteer contributor in 2009 to extend their coverage into Iowa. Several months later I came on board full-time to lead the business aspects of the company and continued to write for them on a variety of subjects until I left this past July.

Photo credit: Thinc Iowa / Anna Jones & Ikonix on Flickr