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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who started South Dakota News Watch and why?

A. Jack Marsh and Randell Beck, retired after a combined 75 years in journalism, recognized that fewer newsroom resources made it harder to produce the kind of statewide coverage of important issues, from agriculture to education, that we know readers want. They spent 2½ years researching similar nonprofits around the country, working with media leaders in South Dakota and raising sufficient funds to launch operations in February 2018. Beck and Marsh, who serve as co-chairs of the board, draw no salaries and have contributed personal funds to support News Watch.

Q. How is this organization funded?

A. South Dakota News Watch is registered as a nonprofit corporation in South Dakota and is an IRS designated 501(c)(3) organization. It is funded by voluntary donations and grants, from individuals, organizations and foundations. Names of donors are available for inspection on our website. No anonymous donations are accepted. Click here to see our most recent federal income tax return Form-990.

Q. Who produces the content?

A. Content director Bart Pfankuch, who joined the team at its inception in early 2018, oversees all the journalism published and distributed by South Dakota News Watch. Pfankuch and investigative reporter Nick Lowrey, working as the organization’s two full-time professional journalists, are the primary researchers, writers and producers of News Watch content. 

Q. Where is your staff based?

A. For the time being, we have no central office. Pfankuch is based in Rapid City and Lowrey is based in Pierre. Meetings of the board of directors and most administrative functions are run from Sioux Falls. We anticipate considering an office location at some point in the future.

Q. How often is new content available?

A. We produce fresh content once or twice weekly, emphasizing unique enterprise journalism that is of wide public interest. Our news team also pursues additional in-depth packages and projects as time allows. To receive email alerts whenever new content is posted, go to SDNewsWatch.org and enter your email address.

Q. What are the media companies that have financially supported South Dakota News Watch?

A. Madison Daily Leader, Mitchell Daily Republic, KELOLAND Media Group, Argus Leader Media, Yankton Press & Dakotan, Rapid City Journal, Watertown Public Opinion, Aberdeen American News and Black Hills Pioneer. We also have received generous funding from the South Dakota Broadcasters Association and the South Dakota Newspaper Association.

Q. Who’s on the board of South Dakota News Watch?

A. Jay Huizenga, Jon Hunter, Arnold Garson, Christine Hamilton, Cory Myers, Shannon Brinker, Nancy Turbak Berry, Beck and Marsh.

Q.  How are stories be selected?

A. Our news team of Pfankuch and Lowrey operate independent of the board. They draw on their many years of journalism experience, and in consultation with experts, advisory groups and sources, they determine the topics that are covered. Ideas and tips may be emailed to Pfankuch at Bart.Pfankuch@SDNewsWatch.org .

Q. Do certain media outlets have exclusive use of stories and other content generated by South Dakota News Watch?

A. No. As a nonprofit public trust, all journalism produced by News Watch is available to the public and our media partners. All content also is posted on our web site, SDNewsWatch.org, and distributed through social media channels.

Q. How can I find out more about South Dakota News Watch?

A. For policy and governance questions, you can contact Marsh and Beck at the addresses below. For questions or suggestions about stories and their delivery, contact Pfankuch and Lowrey at the addresses below.

Randell.Beck@SDNewsWatch.org

Jack.Marsh@SDNewsWatch.org

Bart.Pfankuch@SDNewsWatch.org

Nick.Lowrey@SDNewsWatch.org