Covering Iowa Startups: Sarah Binder of We Create Here

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: I'll share what I'm doing with this blog.

We Create Here — Sarah Binder

We Create Here is a publication that lies somewhere in between the Des Moines Register and Silicon Prairie News. It’s a publication of The Gazette Company (a traditional community news organization) but writes from an advocacy perspective. Each of the reporters has a “statement of intent” and the publication is clearly focused on seeing the Creative Corridor thrive. The Creative Corridor includes Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson (which includes Iowa City), Jones, Linn (which includes Cedar Rapids) and Washington counties in Eastern Iowa.

Why it’s important

It’s cliche, but I do think our communities are strongest when we practice the ‘give before you get’ mentality. Fortunately, Iowans tend to be good at this. My friend David Tominsky is a great example - he’s been putting in the time to organize tons of community events over the past few years (everything from open coffees to startup weekend), and now he’s poised to play a huge role in the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

I try to practice this philosophy as a journalist, but it can be hard to give first when you’re on deadline and really need that stat/photo/whatever. I’m a work in progress, and I would love to hear feedback on how I can better serve readers and startup communities.

— Sarah Binder

Similar to SPN, We Create Here is an online publication and is able to bypass some of the limitations that come with the style of its hard-copy parent. It’s also a startup itself and still trying to figure out its own business model and how to scale in its own environment.

As a new publication they’re trying lots of things right now. For instance, a lot of their posts evolve - they’re first published as outlines of ideas with questions for community engagement that get iterated on based on feedback. It’s an innovative approach and I look forward to seeing what they do with that over time.

The reporter

Sarah Binder is the reporter (which they call “community engagement manager”) for the New Ventures beat for We Create Here. Her statement of intent tells you about the type of stories she’s looking to write: “I want to see my home state flourish, and I firmly believe the best way to do that is to support entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators – people who are trying to make new things happen.” Others on the team like Kiran Sood (diversity) and Brian Morelli (regional economy) also cover startup stories as they overlap their focus area.

Advice for pitching Sarah — "All the factors that make a story timely and newsy still apply with We Create Here. I don't like to think in terms of competing with the other startup reporters in the state (collaboration is much better), but the fact is, I'm the only one on the ground in Eastern Iowa, so when something big happens in the Corridor's startup community I do put pressure on myself to get the story up first.

That said, my favorite stories are more timeless. I like to explore the big issues and trends that will impact the health of our entrepreneurial communities, now and in the future. A story pitch that ties into the bigger context of the region or an industry trend grabs my attention."

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 (and those are actually Sarah's hands) logo and headshot from Twitter.