Douglas Burns

Douglas Burns

Douglas Burns, vice president for news, is a writer and columnist for the Carroll Times Herald. Burns also is a co-owner of Herald Publishing Co., which has been in his family for three generations. You can subscribe to his blog, The Iowa Mercury, on Substack.


Workplace law changes would make for lost, dangerous Iowa childhoods, Council Bluffs labor leaders, parents, say

By: - March 27, 2023

Council Bluffs — Labor leaders, parents and Council Bluffs community members say proposed radical changes to Iowa’s child-labor laws would redefine what it means to be a kid in the state, placing young people in jeopardy while driving down wages for adults amid the tumult of a worker shortage. From Keokuk to Council Bluffs, and […]


They lost a 4-year-old son. Now this Iowa farm family is building a regional grief-therapy center.

By: - January 2, 2023

Manning, Iowa — A wooden cross in a lovingly landscaped garden near the horse barn on this Manning farm marks the final resting place of Jed Riesselman, a little boy who carried an Avengers backpack on the school bus he couldn’t wait to board, smiled at the mention of M&Ms and bonded with a horse […]


How Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds could become president

By: - November 29, 2022

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds insists a life in Washington is not for her. I believed her when she told me this near the shores of Black Hawk Lake in Lake View last year before the governor announced what became a successful reelection bid for Terrace Hill. At the time, speculation emerged, prior to Sen. Charles […]


Suicidal thoughts, resilience in a small-town Iowa newspaper’s fierce last stand

By: - October 18, 2022

The talented and intrepid reporter Dave Hoekstra, a former 30-year writer with the Chicago Sun-Times, spent the better part of three years chronicling the struggle of independent newspapers like my family’s to survive amid a perfect storm of challenges and attacks that have shuttered thousands of locally owned papers or forced them to sell to […]

Iowa farm with barn, silo and tractor

As rural Americans we must see ourselves as part of the nation’s diversity

By: - October 11, 2022

In the age of scarcity (for many) and excess (for the few), the language and policies of diversity become zero-sum. What another gets, you lose, so goes the polarized thinking that has turned our public square into a fever swamp of resentments and recriminations. For too many rural Americans, the term diversity is synonymous with […]


Train-horn noise blares through political tribalism in Carroll

By: - October 8, 2022

Like other communities around the nation that have used a variety of strategies to silence train horns, my hometown, Carroll, Iowa, is split on whether to spend tax dollars to reduce the noise coming from the two Union Pacific Lines crossing seven intersections in our slice of western Iowa. “It’s one of the constant problems […]


President Nile Kinnick? It’s not so far-fetched.

By: - September 1, 2022

It is, of course, a canyon leap to project greatness onto an unfinished life. Or a developing one for that matter. The mouth of the funnel for leaders, men and women of consequence and distinction, is large, and few end up making through, University of Iowa history professor David Shoenbaum told me several years ago. All of […]


Sugar-and-salted irony: Grassley runs ‘favorite food’ at Iowa State Fair contest days after voting against capping insulin doses at $35

By: - August 18, 2022

This is rich – rich by both caloric standards and a spectacular, if not cruel, lack of awareness, or give-a-damnism. And the timing is deadly. Within a week, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley opposed efforts to cap the price of a dose of insulin at $35 and announced an online contest in which he is asking Iowans to […]