Randy Evans of Des Moines is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works on issues pertaining to open government and government accountability.
Evans took over the role in October 2015 after a 40-year career with The Des Moines Register. He joined the Register in 1974 as a news reporter after working for two years as the editor of the Albia Union-Republican and Monroe County News, weekly newspapers in Albia, Ia.
During his time with the Register, Evans served in a variety of editing roles, including state editor, city editor, news editor and assistant managing editor, supervising at one time or another every department in the newsroom except for sports. He spent his final four years as the editor of the Register’s opinion pages.
After retiring from the Register in December 2014, Evans began writing a weekly column on government and politics for the Bloomfield Democrat, his hometown newspaper. Evans started his newspaper career there at the age of 16 when he was hired to handle janitorial duties and write occasional sports and feature stories.
He is the recipient of the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Distinguished Service Award, the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism’s Free Press Champion Award, and the Iowa FOI Council’s inaugural Friend of the First Amendment Award.
For 20 years, Evans has served on the board of trustees of Student Publications Inc., the nonprofit corporation that owns and publishes The Daily Iowan, the student-run newspaper at the University of Iowa.
What is the greatest challenge in today’s digital landscape?
The greatest challenge is finding a business model that allows journalists to make a comfortable profit while delivering news and information that customers want.
What is the greatest opportunity in today’s digital landscape?
For generations, journalists have wrestled with the constraints of too little space (in print) or too little time (in broadcast), but the digital world provides the means to serve the entire range of customers – short summaries for those wanting that, as well as longer, in-depth reports for those seeking that.
What should students graduating from the Greenlee School know about today’s digital landscape?
Regardless of the way information is delivered to customers, the most important thing new grads need is the ability to report with accuracy and to convey information in ways that are easy for busy customers to understand.