Capital Clicks

Clark Kauffman honored as a press freedom champion

By: - November 12, 2021 7:55 pm

Clark Kauffman is deputy editor of Iowa Capital Dispatch

Iowa Capital Dispatch Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has been named the 2021 Stephen Berry Press Freedom Champion by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.

The award was announced Friday at virtual storytelling event sponsored by the center, which publishes the website

The Berry award is named for the center’s co-founder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who created the nonprofit news outlet in 2010 while a professor at the University of Iowa.

It recognizes professional journalists or journalism educators who “bolster democracy as journalists and open records advocates, often persisting through opposition,” IowaWatch editor Suzanne Behnke said, according to the organization’s website.

Kauffman advocated for open meetings and records throughout his 30-year career as an investigative reporter and editorial writer at the Des Moines Register and Quad-City Times in Davenport before joining Iowa Capital Dispatch.

His first story for Iowa Capital Dispatch in January 2020 revealed that the Polk County assessor’s office was keeping thousands of property records secret, even in cases where owners had made no such request.

He has filed several complaints with the Iowa Public Information Board when state officials have failed to comply with open records laws, the latest of which was found to have merit.

Kauffman’s work has won numerous state and national awards over the years. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

Also announced Friday was the Randy Brubaker Press Freedom Champion award, which went to Polly Carver-Kimm, former Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson.

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism “does investigative and community affairs journalism in collaboration with other media and trains college student journalists to do this kind of reporting at a high level,” according to IowaWatch.


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Kathie Obradovich
Kathie Obradovich

Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine.