About Us

About Courier Newsroom

Iowa Starting Line is owned and operated by Courier Newsroom, a civic media company with eight state-based newsrooms. Our mission is to protect and strengthen our democracy through credible, fact-based journalism that seeks to create a more informed, engaged, and representative America.

We reach audiences who are not regularly engaging with civic information, and who are unlikely to subscribe to paywalled journalism. As part of that effort, we deliver much of our reporting on the social platforms our readers use most frequently.

Courier’s newsrooms practice independent, point-of-view journalism. You can read about Iowa Starting Line’s values in the statement below. The managing editor of each site, in addition to Courier Newsroom’s VP of Content, has sole discretion and control over the editorial process.

Courier Newsroom is a public benefit corporation owned by Good Information Inc., and is supported by reader contributions, sponsors, philanthropic donations, and corporate underwriting. We maintain an editorial firewall between our newsrooms and underwriters, sponsors, and donors. We do not accept funding from any national or state political party, party committee, candidate, or campaign.

See Courier’s website for additional information about our national team and our funding model.

Contributions or gifts in support of Iowa Starting Line’s journalism are not tax deductible as charitable contributions.
Iowa Starting Line is part of the Courier Newsroom network. All payments will be made to Courier Newsroom.

Iowa Starting Line: Here’s Where We’re Coming From

At a time when rumors, lies and misinformation fly far faster around social media than actual facts, Iowa Starting Line is working to keep Iowans informed with important context on the stories that impact your life.

We work to cut through the online disinformation and half-truths to provide quality coverage from credible sources by our experienced team of Iowa-based editors and reporters. Our local journalists care deeply about these issues because we call this state our home.

At Iowa Starting Line, we believe in:

  • A living wage for a hard day’s work: Iowa is well-known for the crops it grows, but just as important is what we build and produce. From farm machinery to wind turbines to avionics systems to bridges and roads, in factories, packing plants and small workshops across Iowa, we make what runs America. And our workers should be rewarded for their labor with good wages and benefits, not lied to or pitted against each other by politicians who don’t respect them.
  • Quality education for all families: Iowa has long been respected for its world-class public schools—heck, it’s what represents us on our state quarter. To maintain that, we need classrooms that are free from political interference, educators who are respected and well-paid, and united communities where parents, students, and school staff work together to raise our future generations.
  • An Iowa that’s representative of all Iowans and not just a chosen few: We make sure we’re uplifting the voices of many Iowans too often left out of the prevailing narrative of our state. Everyone’s experience matters here. Our goal is to ensure Iowans often targeted and hurt by policy decisions have access to the information they need to understand what’s at stake and decide who has their best interests at heart.
  • A strong democracy: Access to the ballot box is essential for Iowans to have a say in how our state is run. A strong electorate is also an informed electorate, and one not divided by fear and lies.

We know not everyone has the time to read a dozen in-depth articles about every topic, so we break down our coverage into quick explainer pieces, infographics, engaging videos and more, all delivered to you in the social media feeds you already spend time in every day. And our articles are always free to read.

Starting Line was founded by Pat Rynard in January 2015 and joined Courier Newsroom in 2021. The organization built its reputation on political journalism in Iowa and brings its same passion and energy to reporting on how major state and national issues impact Iowans in their local communities.

Pat Rynard, Founder and Managing Editor
Email: Pat@IowaStartingLine.com
Twitter: @patrynard

Ty Rushing, Senior Editor
Email: Ty@IowaStartingLine.com
Twitter: @Rushthewriter

Nikoel Hytrek, Reporter
Email: Nikoel@IowaStartingLine.com
Twitter: @n_hytrek

Amie Rivers, Reporter
Email: Amie@IowaStartingLine.com

Ellie Konfrst, Community Development Manager
Email: Amie@IowaStartingLine.com

Tara McGowan, Publisher
Twitter: @taraemcg

Meghan McCarthy, VP of Content
Email: meghan@couriernewsroom.com
Twitter: @meghanmccarthy_

20 Comments on "About Us"

  • Hey Pat,
    Thanks for starting this site. Looking forward to more great content. We’ve shared it with our followers on Facebook @UrbandaleDemocrats
    Kris Winter
    Co-Chair Urbandale Democrats

    • Really glad you like it! Let me know if there’s any issues or topics you think would be good ones to cover. – PR

  • Where is the word “democrat’s” iowastartingline.com. It needs to be added instead of deceiving us into believing is is not biased and one sided. You know, transparent.

  • I’m looking forward to coming to my third volunteer experience with the Iowa caucus: Gore in ’00, Edwards in ’08, and O’Malley this time.I I love the friendliness, the intense engagement and even the cold. Carlyle

  • Pat, Very glad to have discovered IA SL and the excellent profiles of seriously skilled up and coming citizen-servants. As an observer of how local informal relationship building in NC from 2012-2016 shifted the state from red to blue, I urge you to share this item with new NDP chair Perez. Thank You for your efforts! GGM

  • I met Pat Rynard when he worked on my dad’s State Senate campaign. Cool dude! (Both Pat and my dad.)

  • I think before you write about the Coalition for Rural Property Rights and our issues you should talk with us. We are really nice folks!

  • Pat…thanks for excellent reporting. Now: who will be looking at challenging Joni Ernst? And what are the obstacles and chances for success?

  • Response from a Madison County farmer/landowner to the one-sided, uninformed article by Rick Smith against legislation to protect rural citizens from health risks posed by siting Wind Turbines too close to homes: Be a real journalist and do some research on both sides of an issue before you make allegations that are not true. There is an abundance of evidence worldwide of health and other issues reported by people living too near these turbines. How many years did the Tobacco industry deny any link between tobacco and health? If you actually read conclusions of most studies, they say more study is needed with larger sample size. By the way, the article about cattle stampeding that you mocked was written as a letter to the editors of the Winterset Madisonian by a local farmer. Have you talked to him, or even read his story?

  • Read about your website and reporting earlier in the day on front page of NYTimes. Keep up the good work! On a tight budget but donated what I can.

    Donated to J.D. Scholten in 2016; hoping he defeats King this go round. Also hope Ernst is retired by the Iowa voters in 2020 .

  • This website is the only place I have found where
    I can get ACCURATE Covid 19 data. Our governor
    on her website is doing everything in her power
    to cover up the real trends of this disease in Iowa.

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