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’ve spent the past two and a half years researching similar non-profits around the country, working with media leaders in South Dakota and raising sufficient funds to launch a pilot year, in 2018. Beck and Marsh draw no salary and have contributed personal funds to establish News Watch.
Q. How is this organization funded?
A. South Dakota News Watch is registered as a nonprofit in South Dakota and is an IRS designated 501(c)(3) organization. It is funded by voluntary donations and grants. Names of donors at $500 and more 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 will produce the content?
A. Our first full-time journalist, investigative reporter Bart Pfankuch, has joined the News Watch team. Bart is a former editor of the Rapid City Journal. In addition, former Argus Leader editor Maricarrol Kueter has joined News Watch in a part-time role as executive director and will act as editor. Pfankuch and Kueter will work together to produce stories and projects, along with graphics and photos, that will be available to the public.
Q. Where is your staff based?
A. For the time being, we have no office. Bart works out of his Rapid City home and Maricarrol lives in Sioux Falls. We anticipate considering an office location at some point after our pilot year.
Q. How often will content be available?
A. Our goal is to produce content at least weekly, emphasizing unique enterprise journalism that will be of wide public interest. We also anticipate our news team working on additional in-depth packages and projects as time allows.
Q. Who are the media companies that have financially supported the startup of 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 and the Aberdeen American News. We also have received funding from the South Dakota Broadcasters Association.
Q. Who’s on the board of South Dakota News Watch?
A. Jay Huizenga, Jon Hunter, Arnold Garson, Christine Hamilton, Cory Meyers, Bill Duhamel, Shannon Brinker, Nancy Turbak Berry, Beck and Marsh.
Q. How will stories be selected?
A. Our news team of Kueter and Pfankuch will operate independent of the board. An advisory group of editors from across South Dakota will suggest story topics.
Q. Will certain media outlets have exclusive use of stories and other content generated by South Dakota News Watch?
A. No. As a non-profit public trust, all journalism produced by News Watch is available to the public and our media partners. All content will be posted on our web site, sdnewswatch.org.
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 Kueter and Pfankuch at the addresses below.