Courier editor discusses changing landscape of news



Pat Kinney, the news editor of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, came to the Maucker Union to discuss how local news is evolving in Iowa and the United States.

JACOB MADDEN, News Editor | [email protected]

This past Tuesday, Waterloo-Cedar Falls (WCF) Courier News Editor Pat Kinney came to the Maucker Union to discuss journalism, democracy and the importance of local news.

Kinney, a Waterloo native, began his education at UNI with a major in English and a minor in journalism. Kinney transferred to Iowa State University (ISU) where he graduated with a major in journalism.

“I wanted to get a major in journalism because I like to write and I wanted to try to make a living without being a long-suffering author or something,” Kinney said.

After graduating, Kinney began his journalism career at the Ames Tribune where he worked for five years.

“I was covering city hall, local government, the cops, things like that,” Kinney said. “Then I went to the Quad-City Times, I was in the Clinton bureau. I was only there four months, and it was quite an experience. There was a lot of breaking news, a lot going on.”

After his stint at the Quad-City Times, Kinney said he got a chance to come back to Waterloo and work with the WCF Courier. According to Kinney, he has been with the Courier for 32 years.

Kinney said that in his 32 years, he has worked many jobs within the Courier, but that recently, the landscape of journalism has changed.

“Our staff is so small now that I do a lot of reporting,” Kinney said. “I inherited back [coverage of] Cedar Falls City Hall, which I had when I first started and that’s great because a lot of the people I know are still around.”

Kinney recalled a moment from one of his classes at UNI that impacted his view of journalism in America.

“We had some film about — I can’t remember who the expert was — but he said ‘Democracy demands an informed public,’” Kinney said.

“I agree with that,” Kinney said. “Also, people need to pay attention to the levels of government that affect them the most: your city councils and your school boards. [They] can have more direct impact on folks’ daily lives than some stuff that’s happening in Washington.”

According to Kinney, covering local issues and government is his primary job. Kinney also sees a future for print news as local news, describing it as “down the block, across the street” news. Kinney was brought to UNI by the UNI American Democracy Project.