Covering Iowa Startups: Megan Bannister of Silicon Prairie News

This is part of a week long series called "Covering Iowa Startups" profiling the five people who regularly write about startups in our community. Next up: Sarah Binder of We Create Here.

Megan Bannister - Silicon Prairie News

Silicon Prairie News* is a tech news blog that writes about startups in “the Silicon Prairie” — traditionally the area around Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City. Unlike a traditional community paper, this online publication writes from an advocacy perspective looking to “foster communities of entrepreneurs and creatives on the Silicon Prairie.” It’s an industry publication for the startup industry in this part of the Midwest.

Why it’s important

Over the past year, it’s been really great to watch the startup community in Iowa continue to grow. I look forward to entrepreneurs from across the state finding even more ways to work together, and am excited to see even more community-run and supported ventures—like the I/OWA conference and Des Moines’ new potential co-working space—start to crop up.

— Megan Bannister

A publication like SPN has the ability to dive deeper into the story than a general interest publication. This is for a few reasons: they don’t write for print so there’s no space limitation, the audience is most likely in the industry and knows the terminology/jargon, and because they’re writing as advocates, they have the potential to be closer to their sources. While a story in TechCrunch or the Des Moines Register will likely reach a larger audience and give the topic more exposure, the SPN story will often have more detail and the ability to relate the topic's importance within the Midwest community.

SPN was writing consistently about Iowa startups before the other entities on this list and that coverage played a role in getting Iowans and Iowa news entities excited about the startup beat. As a company, their focus on Iowa appears to have waned through several staff and strategy changes in the past year; despite that, their daily news coverage has continued and that’s a great thing for our community.

The reporter

Megan Bannister is the Iowa editor at SPN. She works remotely from Des Moines and has been writing about startups throughout the state for just over a year. SPN also utilizes a set of contributors to augment their coverage. Historically, Danny Schreiber (now at Zapier), Michael Stacy (now at Missouri Business Alert) and myself (now at this blog!) have written extensive posts for SPN about Iowa startups and culture.

Advice for pitching Megan — "...more than anything, I look for passion and the people behind the company or venture in any pitch I receive. Great as it is to discuss the tech a company is creating, I think the real power in what SPN can do is telling the stories of the entrepreneurs themselves. I love learning about what entrepreneurs around Iowa are working on, even if it's just the first inklings of a company, so don't hesitate to drop me a line."

Also, check out Megan's guest post from May 1: Is this Silicon Valley? No, it's Iowa

*I started SPN's coverage of Iowa startups in 2009 and helped evolve the company from hobby blog to full-time media outlet from that point until I left in June 2013. 

Geoff Wood has been helping tell the story of the Iowa startup community since 2009. In addition to writing here daily, he hosts a weekly podcast, speaks at conferences and organizes several events in the community.

Photo Credit: header photo from, logo from Twitter, headshot by Malone & Co.