MacKenzie Elmer, reporter

Notable Work Experience

City of Des Moines, Polk County reporter for The Des Moines Register Des Moines IA

Covers city council, county board of supervisors and everything in between from the environment, race, poverty, development. I try to explain what the swiftly-changing federal agenda means for locals.

Crime and breaking news reporter for The Des Moines Register Des Moines, IA August 2014-August 2016

Covered crime, public safety and all things breaking in Des Moines. Reported on the federal criminal trial of a Des Moines officer; investigated the murder-suicide of a Des Moines officer; covered the double slaying of two officers in Des Moines and Urbandale.

*Education and health reporter for Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Waterloo, IA June 2013

Covers issues in higher and public education in Iowa, particularly the University of Northern Iowa and the Cedar Falls School District. Covers the Iowa Board of Regents and issues circulating in state education policy. Covers national, state and local issues in health care.

Reporter for The Associated Press Des Moines, IA January 2013-may 2013

Covered Iowa state government and politics during the 2013 Legislative session. Wrote daily breaking news and enterprise pieces in AP style under tight deadline for state and national wire service. Live-tweeted important legislative debates without spoiling news break. Also shot photos to accompany breaking stories.

Reporter for The Hawk Eye Burlington, IA August 2012-December 2012

Covered city council in Fort Madison, Keokuk and Mount Pleasant and county board of supervisors in Lee and Henry counties. Branches out into state government, education, health and cops and public safety beats.

Reporter and Web Manager for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism – Iowa City, IA 2010-present
Reporter: Investigative, long-form reporting. Article collaboration, interviews, research, pitching story ideas. Creative development for Center’s future.
Web manager: designing story web-layout, timely story posting on website, maintaining funcionality and updates for site, CSS manipulation of theme to suit company needs.

Intern at El País, English Edition/International Herald Tribune – Madrid, Spain 2011
Translation and editing of daily news from Spanish to English for El País in English Edition. Maintaining and uploading daily nes to the Edition’s website. Some on-site, freelance reporting for the paper.

Freelance photographer for the Press-Citizen – Iowa City, IA 2011-present
Shoot photos for slideshows, occasional photos for spot news stories. *See Awards & Achievements

Radio reporter for “Health Beat” – Iowa City, IA 2011
Recording audio interviews and news bits, audio editing, and producing on-air and for podcast.

Reporter and photographer for In-Madrid – Madrid, Spain 2011
Writing monthly articles, fact checking, research and photography for paper. Photo-correspondent at various events like Madrid Fashion Week, Armani Blu, and film premire photo-calls for Source Code (Código Fuente) and There Be Dragons.

Assistant radio news director, KRUI 89.7 FM – Iowa City, IA 2010

Booking and scheduling on-air interviews, organizing and assessing on-air news casts of staff, presenting news casts, run staff meetings.


University of Iowa; Iowa City, IA, USA; 2008-present (due to graduate May, 2012)
Honors in Journalism            Minor: Spanish
Year of Study Abroad at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain; 2010-2011
Journalism and Spanish, all coursework completed in Spanish

Foreign Language

Spanish, fluent  – experienced in reporting, translation
Italian, basic – conversational


Loyola Journalist Law School fellow, 2017, Los Angeles, CA

Institute for Natural Resources Journalism: Great Lakes Region 2016

Multimedia Skills

Final Cut Pro
Flip Video/Flip Share

Awards & Achievements

  • Skip Weber Investigative Journalism Award, February 2015, Iowa Newspaper Association: I was a part of a collaborative series looking at how Gov. Terry Branstad’s 2013 mental health care reforms affected the Black Hawk County region in Iowa.
  • 1st place for investigative journalism, 2013 Iowa Division B, Associated Press Media Editors, February 2014: Explored how telepsychiatry is emerging in rural northeastern Iowa amid a shortage in psychiatrists for the growing mentally ill population. Part of a series investigating Iowa’s new regional mental health system.
  • *Gannett Corporation, Awards of Excellence, Quater 3, Breaking News, Division III.
    University of Iowa Dean’s List 2008, 2009, 2010
    Fox Valley Emergency Shelter Youth Volunteer of the Year Award 2008


English as a Second Language Tutor at West Liberty High-School 2011-2012
Students Today Leaders Forever, Alternative Spring Break Service Project 2009
Girl Scout Gold Award 2008, Appleton, WI