The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines Register is the daily morning newspaper of Des Moines, Iowa. A separate edition of the Register is sold throughout much of Iowa.

The Des Moines Register
Des Moines Register front page
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Gannett Company
PublisherDavid Chivers
EditorCarol Hunter
Founded1849 (as The Iowa Star)
Headquarters400 Locust Street, Suite 500
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
 United States
Circulation59,365 Daily
105,371 Sunday (2017)[1]


Early period

The first newspaper in Des Moines was the Iowa Star. In July 1849, Barlow Granger began the paper in an abandoned log cabin by the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon River.[2]

In 1854, The Star became the Iowa Statesman which was also a Democratic paper. In 1857, The Statesman became the Iowa State Journal, which published 3 times per week.[2]

In 1870, The Iowa Statesman became the Iowa State Leader as a Democratic newspaper, which competed with pro-Republican Iowa Daily State Register for the next 32 years.[2]

In 1902, George Roberts bought the Register and Leader and merged them into a morning newspaper. In 1903, Des Moines banker Gardner Cowles, Sr. purchased the Register and Leader. The name finally became The Des Moines Register in 1915.[2] (Cowles also acquired the Des Moines Tribune in 1908. The Tribune, which merged with the rival Des Moines News in 1924 and the Des Moines Capital in 1927, served as the evening paper for the Des Moines area until it ended publication on September 25, 1982.)

Under the ownership of the Cowles family, the Register became Iowa's largest and most influential newspaper, eventually adopting the slogan "The Newspaper Iowa Depends Upon." Newspapers were distributed to all four corners of the state by train and later by truck as Iowa's highway system was improving.

Nationwide development

In 1906, the newspaper's first front-page editorial cartoon, illustrated by Jay Norwood Darling, was published;[2] the tradition of front-page editorial cartoons continued until December 4, 2008 when 25-year veteran cartoonist Brian Duffy was let go in a round of staff cuts.

The Register employed reporters in cities and towns throughout Iowa, and it covered national and international news stories from an Iowa perspective, even setting up its own news bureau in Washington, D.C. in 1933. During the 1960s, circulation of the Register peaked at nearly 250,000 for the daily edition and 500,000 for the Sunday edition–more than the population of Des Moines at the time. In 1935, the Register & Tribune Company founded radio station KRNT-AM, named after the newspapers' nickname, "the R 'n T." In 1955, the company, renamed Cowles Communications some years earlier, founded Des Moines' third television station, KRNT-TV, which was renamed KCCI after the radio station was sold in 1974. Cowles eventually acquired other newspapers, radio stations and television stations, but almost all of them were sold to other companies by 1985.

In 1943, the Register became the first newspaper to sponsor a statewide opinion poll when it introduced the Iowa Poll, modeled after Iowan George Gallup's national Gallup poll. Sports coverage was increased under sports editor Garner "Sec" Taylor – for whom Sec Taylor Field at Principal Park is named – in the 1920s. For many years the Register printed its sports sections on peach-colored paper, but that tradition ended for the daily paper in 1981 and for the Sunday Register's "Big Peach" in 1999. Another Register tradition – the sponsorship of RAGBRAI – began in 1973 when writer John Karras challenged columnist Donald Kaul to do a border-to-border bicycle ride across Iowa. The liberal-leaning editorial page has brought Donald Kaul back for Sunday opinion columns. Other local columns have faded and given way to Gannett-distributed material.

In 1985, faced with declining circulation and revenues, the Cowles family sold off its various properties to different owners, with the Register going to Gannett.[2] At the time of sale, only The New York Times had won more Pulitzer Prizes for national reporting.

In 1990, the Register began to reduce its coverage of news outside of the Des Moines area by closing most of its Iowa news bureaus and ending carrier distribution to outlying counties, although an "Iowa Edition" of the Register is still distributed throughout most of the state. Many of the Register's news stories and editorials focus on Des Moines and its suburbs.

The Register opened a new printing and distribution facility on the south side of Des Moines in 2000. The news & advertising offices remained in downtown Des Moines. After 95 years in the Des Moines Register Building at 715 Locust Street, the Register announced in 2012 that they would move to a new location in 2013, settling for Capital Square three blocks to the east.[3] On June 15, 2013, the Register moved to its new location from 715 Locust Street to 400 Locust Street.[2] In 2014, the old building has been sold for $1.6 million and will be redeveloped into a combination of apartments and retail space.[4]


Des Moines Register Headline (01-02-2016)
Des Moines Register in 2016

In 2018, China increased the supplement in the Des Moines Register, that criticized the pushback to the trade war. President Trump attacked China as the interfering in American elections.[5] In early October, vice president Pence also quoted the same example by this newspaper in Iowa.[6]

Editorial philosophy

In the three decades before the Cowles family acquired the Register in 1903, the Register was a "voice of pragmatic conservatism."[7] However, Gardner Cowles Sr., who served as a Republican in the Iowa General Assembly and was a delegate to the 1916 Republican National Convention,[8] was an advocate of progressive Republicanism.[7] The new owners presented a variety of viewpoints, including Darling cartoons that frequently made fun of progressive politicians.[9]

During the Cowles family's ownership, the Register's editorial page philosophy was generally more liberal in its outlook than editorial pages of other Iowa newspapers, but there were notable exceptions. Gardner Cowles Sr. served in the administration of President Herbert Hoover.[8] The publishers strongly supported Republican Wendell Willkie's 1940 presidential campaign against Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.[10] The newspaper also supported Republican Dwight Eisenhower's campaigns for the Republican nomination and general election in 1952, and again in 1956.[10] Although the Register endorsed presidential candidates Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964,[11] Hubert Humphrey in 1968,[12] and Jimmy Carter in 1976,[13] it endorsed Richard Nixon in 1960[11] and 1972.[14]

The paper was a severe critic of George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping strategy, claiming that in doing so, "President Bush has declared war on the American people."

In December 2007, two weeks before the 2008 Iowa caucuses, the Register endorsed Hillary Clinton (in the Democratic caucuses) and John McCain (in the Republican caucuses).[15] In October 2008, the Register endorsed Barack Obama for president in the general election.[16]

In 2011, 24 days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses, the newspaper endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican Iowa Caucuses. The Register endorsed Romney over Obama 10 days before the general election on October 27, 2012—the first time it had supported a Republican for president since 1972.[17]

On July 24, 2015, the newspaper announced that it had been denied press credentials to cover a Donald Trump presidential campaign family picnic in Oskaloosa, Iowa, due to an editorial the previous week which called on Trump to drop out of the race.[18][19]

On January 23, 2016, the Register endorsed Republican Senator Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination, and Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate.

On October 13, 2018, the Register endorsed all Democratic candidates standing for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections saying that Republicans have "failed to govern."[20]

Register and Tribune Syndicate

In 1922, Gardner Cowles' son John launched the Register and Tribune Syndicate. At its peak, the syndicate offered other newspapers some 60 to 75 features, including editorial cartoonist Herblock and commentaries by David Horowitz, Stanley Karnow, and others. The cartoons and comic strips included Spider-Man. Will Eisner's The Spirit was part of a 16-page Sunday supplement known colloquially as "The Spirit Section". This was a tabloid-sized newsprint comic book sold as part of eventually 20 Sunday newspapers with a combined circulation of as many as five million copies. The most successful comics feature was The Family Circus, eventually distributed to more than 1,000 newspapers. In 1986, the Register and Tribune Syndicate was sold to Hearst and the King Features Syndicate for $4.3 million.[21]

Columnists and notable journalists

Current Register columnists include Rekha Basu, Kathie Obradovich, Daniel P. Finney, and Kyle Munson. Former columnist Rob Borsellino, who authored the book So I'm Talkin' to This Guy... (ISBN 1-888223-66-9), died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on May 27, 2006.

Steve Deace started his career as a sports reporter at the Register.[22]


The Register has won 16 Pulitzer Prizes:[23]

Register photographer Robert Modersohn was one of four finalists for the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for a selection of photographs the jury described as unusual.

Register writer Clark Kauffman was one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his exposure of glaring injustice in the handling of traffic tickets by public officials in Iowa.

Editorial writer Andie Dominick was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for her series of editorials on Iowa's job licensing laws.[24]

Iowa Sports Hall of Fame

The Register sponsors the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ "Kirk Blunck's family sues, says architect was murdered. Is Teachout sale near? Register circulation plummets". November 1, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Timeline: History of the Des Moines Register". Des Moines Register. 2015-09-10. Archived from the original on 2018-10-27.
  3. ^ Eller, Donnelle (September 17, 2012). "Des Moines Register signs lease for new space in Capital Square". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on 16 Jun 2013..
  4. ^ Aschbrenner, Joel (November 27, 2014). "Des Moines Register building sold". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on 2015-05-20.
  5. ^ "China Rejects Trump's Charges of Meddling in U.S. Elections". New York Times. 2018-09-28. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  6. ^ "Pence accuses China of trying to undermine Trump". Politico. 2018-10-04.
  7. ^ a b William B. Friedricks, "Covering Iowa: The History of the Des Moines Register and Tribune Company, 1849-1985," pp. 40-44 (Blackwell Pub. 2000), ISBN 0-8138-2620-9.
  8. ^ a b Herbert Strentz, "Gardner Cowles, Sr.," at Cowles Family Publishing Legacy, Drake University (accessed 2009-03-08).
  9. ^ Editorial Cartoons of J.N. 'Ding' Darling (Iowa Digital Library: University of Iowa Libraries) - Cartoons referencing or depicting progressivism or progressives (accessed 2009-03-09).
  10. ^ a b Herbert Strentz, "Gardner (Mike) Cowles, Jr.," at Cowles Family Publishing Legacy, Drake University (accessed 2009-03-08).
  11. ^ a b "How Iowa Dailies See Candidates", Des Moines Register, October 25, 1964 at 6-F.
  12. ^ Editorial, "Difficult Choice for President", Des Moines Register, October 27, 1968 at 12-T.
  13. ^ Editorial, "The Presidential Ticket", Des Moines Register, October 24, 1976, at B1.
  14. ^ Editorial, "The Choice for President", Des Moines Register, 1972-10-29 at 10-C.
  15. ^ "'Des Moines Register' backs McCain, Clinton," USA Today, 2007-12-17 (accessed 2009-03-08).
  16. ^ Register editorial board endorses Obama for President, Des Moines Register, 2008-10-25 (accessed 2009-03-08).
  17. ^ "'Des Moines Register' Endorses Romney With Eye Toward Economy". npr.
  18. ^ Noble, Jason (July 24, 2015). "Trump barring Des Moines Register from campaign event". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  19. ^ "Editorial: Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show". Des Moines Register. July 21, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  20. ^ "The Register's endorsements for Congress: GOP has failed to govern; give Democrats a chance". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  21. ^ Strentz, Herb. "John Cowles," Cowles Family Publishing Legacy: Drake University, Cowles Library. Accessed Jan. 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Calmes, Jackie (3 November 2015). "Steve Deace and the Power of Conservative Media". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Des Moines Register Pulitzer Prizes and awards". Des Moines Register. 2012-05-18. Archived from the original on 2013-01-22.
  24. ^ Register's Andie Dominick named Pulitzer finalist, The Des Moines Register

Further reading

  • Friedricks, William B. Covering Iowa: The History of the Des Moines Register and Tribune Company, 1849-1985 (1991)

External links

1895 Iowa Agricultural Cyclones football team

The 1895 Iowa Agricultural Cyclones football team represented Iowa Agricultural College (later renamed Iowa State University) as an independent during the 1895 college football season. The Cyclones compiled a 3–4 record and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 82 to 70. Ed Mellinger was the team captain.While Pop Warner is listed as the team's head coach, The Des Moines Register reported that he only worked with the team before the season started, and "it is believed he only saw the team play once" during the five-year period he was listed as the coach. Ira C. Brownlie, who founded the Iowa Agricultural football program in 1892, later recalled: "In 1895 the great Pop Warner came out to Ames to coach. He would remain with us from July to October 1. . . . He was at Ames for five years that way."Between 1892 and 1913, the football team played on a field that later became the site of the university's Parks Library.

1918 Iowa Hawkeyes football team

The 1918 Iowa Hawkeyes football team was an American football team that represented the University of Iowa in the 1918 Big Ten Conference football season. In their third season under head coach Howard Jones, the Hawkeyes compiled a 6–2 (2–1 against Big Ten opponents) and finished in a tie for fourth place in the conference.

Iowa end Robert Reed and guard Harry Hunzelman received first-team All-Big Ten honors. African-American tackle Duke Slater also made his debut as a freshman for the 1918 Iowa team.

1947 Iowa State Cyclones football team

The 1947 Iowa State Cyclones football team represented Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts (later renamed Iowa State University) in the Big Six Conference during the 1947 college football season. In their first year under head coach Abe Stuber, the Cyclones compiled a 3–6 record (1–4 against conference opponents), finished in fifth place in the conference, and were outscored by opponents by a combined total of 141 to 111. They played their home games at Clyde Williams Field in Ames, Iowa.

The team's statistical leaders included Webb Halbert with 464 rushing yards, Ron Norman with 504 passing yards, Dean Laun with 246 receiving yards, and Harley Rollinger with 21 points (three field goals and 12 extra points). Webb Halbert was the only Iowa State player to be selected as a first-team all-conference player.The team's regular starting lineup consisted of left end Dean Laun, left tackle Tom Southard, left guard Joe Brubaker, center Rod Rust, right guard Norman Anderson, right tackle Harley Rollinger, right end Bob Jensen, quarterback Don Ferguson, left halfback Webb Halbert, right halfback Vic Weber, and fullback Ray Klootwyk. Rollinger and Weber were the team captains.

2014 Iowa State Cyclones football team

The 2014 Iowa State Cyclones football team represented Iowa State University in the 2014 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Playing as a member of the Big 12 Conference (Big 12), the team was led by head coach Paul Rhoads, in his sixth year and played its home games at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. They finished the season 2–10, 0–9 in Big 12 play to finish in last place.

2014 Iowa gubernatorial election

The 2014 Iowa gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2014, to elect the Governor of Iowa. Republican incumbent Terry Branstad was running for reelection to a sixth overall and second consecutive four-year term. On December 14, 2015, he became the longest-serving governor in American history. Branstad went on to win a historic sixth term as governor by defeating Democratic challenger and State Senator Jack Hatch. Branstad won 59.1% of the popular vote to Hatch's 37.3%. Branstad won every county except Johnson County.

2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Iowa

The 2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Iowa were held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, to elect the four U.S. Representatives from the state of Iowa, one from each of the state's four congressional districts. The elections coincided with the elections of other federal and state offices, including Governor of Iowa and United States Senate. Primary elections were held on June 4, 2014. As no candidate won more than 35% of the vote in the 3rd district Republican primary, that nomination was decided at a party convention on June 21.

2015 Iowa Barnstormers season

The 2015 Iowa Barnstormers season was the team's fifteenth season as a professional indoor football franchise and first in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams competing in the IFL for the 2015 season, the Iowa Barnstormers are members of the United Conference. The team plays their home games at the Wells Fargo Arena in the Des Moines, Iowa.

2015 Iowa State Cyclones football team

The 2015 Iowa State Cyclones football team represented Iowa State University in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Playing as a member of the Big 12 Conference (Big 12), the team played its home games at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. They were led by seventh-year head coach Paul Rhoads. They finished the season 3–9, 2–7 in Big 12 play to finish in ninth place.

On October 26, 2015, Mark Mangino was replaced as offensive coordinator with Todd Sturdy, formerly the passing game coordinator, on an interim basis. On November 23, Rhoads was fired. He stayed on to coach the final game of the season on November 28. He finished at Iowa State with a seven-year record of 32–55.

2016 Iowa Barnstormers season

The 2016 Iowa Barnstormers season was the team's sixteenth season as a professional indoor football franchise and second in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams that compete in the IFL for the 2016 season, the Barnstormers are members of the United Conference.

Led by head coach Joe Brannen, the Barnstormers play their home games at the Wells Fargo Arena in the Des Moines, Iowa.

2016 United States House of Representatives elections in Iowa

The 2016 United States House of Representatives elections in Iowa were held on November 8, 2016, to elect the four U.S. Representatives from the state of Iowa, one from each of the state's four congressional districts. The elections coincided with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the House of Representatives, elections to the United States Senate and various state and local elections. The primaries were held on June 7.

2018 Iowa gubernatorial election

The 2018 Iowa gubernatorial election took place on November 6, 2018. Incumbent Republican Governor Kim Reynolds ran for election to a full term, facing Democratic businessman Fred Hubbell, Libertarian Jake Porter, and independent candidate Gary Siegwarth.

On Election Day, Reynolds won 50.3% of the vote and carried 88 of Iowa's 99 counties. She became the first female governor of Iowa elected in her own right.

Clark R. Mollenhoff

Clark R. Mollenhoff (April 16, 1921 – March 2, 1991) was an American journalist, lawyer, and columnist for The Des Moines Register.

Dahl's Foods

Dahl's Foods was a grocery store chain headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa that had multiple locations in central Iowa between its founding in 1931 and its demise in 2015.

Evelyne Jobe Villines

Evelyne Jobe Villines (February 11, 1930 – September 30, 2017) was an American disability rights advocate and political activist who had Poliomyelitis. Villines worked for both the state of Iowa and the federal government as an advocate. The Des Moines Register called her a "nationally known spokeswoman for the disabled" in 1992.

Merle Hay Mall

Merle Hay Mall is an enclosed super-regional shopping mall in Des Moines, Iowa, in the United States. Opened in 1959, it is the oldest regional shopping center in Iowa, and was the largest mall in Iowa in terms of gross leasable area before the 2004 opening of Jordan Creek Town Center in neighboring West Des Moines. It was also the site of the deadliest fire in Des Moines' history, which killed eleven people in 1978.Kohl's and Target are the mall's anchor stores with two vacant anchors last occupied by Sears and Younkers, while Applebee's, IHOP, and Starbucks operate on the outparcels of the mall. Other prominent stores in the mall include Ulta, Old Navy, Flix Brewhouse, and Ross Dress for Less. Most of the mall is in the northwest part of Des Moines, but the wing that contains the former Younkers, Kohl's, and the food court is inside the city limits of neighboring Urbandale.

Merle Hay Mall is independently owned by the Merle Hay Mall Limited Partnership, and the family of one of its original developers continues to manage the mall. A Chicago-based company, Urban Retail Properties, handles the mall's leasing duties.

Nate Boulton

Nate Boulton (born May 23, 1980) is an American politician currently serving in the Iowa Senate. Boulton, a Democrat, represents the 16th district. Boulton was first elected in 2016 to replace retiring Democratic Senator Dick Dearden.In May 2017, Boulton announced his candidacy for the Iowa gubernatorial election, 2018 with a video on Twitter. He suspended his campaign in May 2018 shortly after The Des Moines Register published the accounts of three women accusing Boulton of sexual misconduct.

Principal Park

Principal Park, formerly Sec Taylor Stadium, is a minor league baseball stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. It is the home field of the Pacific Coast League's Iowa Cubs.

Southridge Mall (Iowa)

{{Use mdy dates|date=February 2019}

Southridge Mall is an open-air shopping center on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa, USA. It attracts roughly 3.3 million visitors per year, with a primary trade area consisting of most of the city of Des Moines and areas to its south and east.As of 2019, Southridge is anchored by Target, with two vacant anchors that had been Sears and Younkers. Tenants on the outparcels include Hy-Vee, PETCO, and a 12-screen theater owned by AMC Theatres.

The Daily Iowan

The Daily Iowan is an independent, 8,500-circulation daily student newspaper serving Iowa City and the University of Iowa community. It has consistently won a number of collegiate journalism awards, including five National Pacemaker Awards in 2000, 2001, 2006, 2008, and 2013.The paper is distributed Monday through Friday when classes are in session. It is available free of charge on campus and is available for home delivery by subscription. The publication is entirely student-run and independent from the University of Iowa.

The Daily Iowan’s biggest competitors are The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, The Des Moines Register and the Iowa City Press-Citizen.The Daily Iowan is available on three platforms, those of which include print, online, and TV. As of June 2013, The Daily Iowan has been regarded as the largest college newspaper in the country.

George Gallup, creator of the Gallup poll, served as editor of The Daily Iowan in the early 1920s. The newspaper's publisher has been Jason Brummond since 2017, when the previous publisher, William Casey, retired. Casey had served in the post since 1976 and is credited with starting the newspaper's scholarship program for talented future journalists, who have since worked at news agencies such as The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The St. Petersburg Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Star Tribune, The Des Moines Register, ESPN, USA Today, SPIN Magazine and The Times-Picayune. The scholarship program began in 1987. As of 2013, over $700,000 has been awarded to promising journalists to pay for tuition, so long as they work on The Daily Iowan staff. Each year, up to four high school seniors are selected for the four-year scholarship.On December 11, 2011, The Daily Iowan endorsed 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul.

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