Sarah Watson appointed new DI editor-in-chief

Student Publications Inc. select Sarah Watson to be the new editor in chief for the 2020-2021 academic school year.


Ryan Adams

Daily Iowan Managing Editor Sarah Watson poses for a portrait inside Adler Journalism Building on March 3, 2020. Watson will serve as editor in chief in fall of 2020.

Rin Swann, News Reporter

Student Publications Inc. on Monday selected Managing Editor Sarah Watson as the editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Originally from DeWitt, Iowa, Watson is a journalism and political-science major in her third year at the University of Iowa. 

She has worked at the DI for the last three years. As a freshman, she started in the news section as a student government reporter for a semester before moving to the politics section. 

During her sophomore year, she was the politics editor during the 2018 midterm elections. She continued as politics editor during the fall 2019 semester, playing an integral role in leading coverage of the Iowa caucuses, before becoming a managing editor for the spring 2020 semester.

“I am super excited for next year,” Watson said. “And I’m really, really excited to be surrounded with just so many hard-working, creative, outside-the-box thinkers here at the DI.”

Four people interviewed for the editor-in-chief position. SPI Board Chair Paul Jensen said that, while the decision was difficult, it was Watson’s vision and determination that eventually pushed her to the top. 

“She has a vision for what could happen for The Daily Iowan and she wants to make things happen,” Jensen said. 

That vision, Watson said, includes continuing the journalistic practices of accountability, expanding engagement initiatives, and pushing DI staffers to constantly improve their work. 

“[My goals include] engaging the community and developing our staff members’ skills so they can reach their potential,” Watson said. 

Current DI Editor-in-Chief Marissa Payne complimented Watson’s leadership, compassion, and energy. Her morale, Payne said, will be infectious for the staff. 

“She’s shown that she’s a big thinker,” Payne said. “And, to her, there is nothing The Daily Iowan can’t accomplish… She knows how to build on people’s strengths so that The Daily Iowan can accomplish incredible things, and I have full confidence that it will under her leadership.”

RELATED: Marissa Payne appointed next DI editor-in-chief

DI Publisher Jason Brummond also expressed excitement about Watson’s upcoming leadership, calling her and her work with the Ethics and Politics Initiative impressive. He highlighted her strong reporting background and her ability to mentor others. 

“She is very good at working with reporters and other editors to make the best newsroom possible,” Brummond said. 

This year was a historic year for the UI’s independent student-run news organization, as the DI in February won the Iowa Newspaper Association’s top honor, the Newspaper of the Year award, in a statewide competition against professional news organizations. 

Brummond expressed confidence in her abilities as the next editor-in-chief. 

“I’m just excited to work with her and, again, I feel like we have had a really great year this year, and I am excited to see how [Watson] takes it to the next level next year,” Brummond said. 

Watson will assume the position in the fall of 2020 after completing a summer internship with the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

“I am most excited to see how people grow over time,” Watson said. “I came in as a freshman, so I’ve known a lot of people over the years and I see new people blossom.”

She highlighted her excitement to see new content produced by hard-working journalists. 

“It takes a village to raise a newsroom,” Watson said. 

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