Journalism non-profit expands as second year begins

South Dakota News Watch, the state’s first and only non-profit news organization, will double its full-time staff as it begins its second year delivering in-depth reporting on important statewide topics.

“With the encouragement and financial support of everyday South Dakotans, News Watch is expanding its reporting team in 2019 and will produce more public service journalism in new and better ways, reaching readers and viewers through whatever medium they prefer — in print, on the air, online or on their phones and tablets,” said News Watch board co-chair Jack Marsh.

Marsh and co-chair Randell Beck said South Dakota News Watch begins 2019 fully funded with a budget of $255,000, which was raised primarily from individual donors, foundations and supporting media organizations. That budget includes the hiring of a second full-time journalist. The current staff consists of investigative reporter Bart Pfankuch and part-time executive director and editor Maricarrol Kueter.

Marsh and Beck, who also co-founded South Dakota News Watch, said 65 in-depth articles on more than 50 topics were produced in the first year, provided free of charge to print, broadcast and digital media outlets across the state and to the public through its open access website,

“South Dakota News Watch delivered on its promise to be a credible, trustworthy source of objective news and information about issues of statewide importance,” Marsh said. “News Watch journalists did so with sophisticated in-depth coverage of topics that previously were overlooked.”

Topics ranged from environment and public safety, to public health, transportation and education. Among its most notable work was a nine-part series examining the deteriorating quality of many of South Dakota’s rivers and streams – stories that have drawn national attention.

South Dakota News Watch is one of about 150 nonprofit news organizations across the nation that have been created in the wake of declining mainstream news resources.