City Spotlight: Des Moines Is Fertile Ground for Publishing
David Byrne of Talking Heads fame recently passed through Des Moines, Iowa for the 80/35 Music Festival. He wrote about his time there-the bucolic setting, the public spaces, restaurants, the library, and a visit to the local bike shop. "Life here seems to be more or less middle class (the middle class doesn't seem to have been gutted here as it has been in many other towns), and there are amenities like the riverfront, bike trail networks, ball fields, and water sports that show that the city cares about its citizens," Byrne opines in his blog.
It was Des Moines' people who most fascinated Byrne. "It's imperfect, but people here seem to have a found a way of living that is not based around either extremes of manic striving or desperation. It may not be cool, but it might be beyond cool. Here among the winding creeks and fields of corn they may have arrived at some kind of secret satisfaction."
Businesses have found the region to be fertile as well. Corporate America put down roots in Des Moines-not just publishers, but also notable players in the information-technology, insurance, and financial services industries.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Des Moines' unemployment rate at a modest 4.3 percent, as of May 2013.
Polly Clark is the publisher of Pioneer Communications' The Iowan, lauded as the "original State magazine," first published in 1952. From a labor force perspective, Clark says it's easy to staff the magazine from within the State, and that may be due to culture. "Iowans in general, and to some degree, Midwesterners, are great readers. They want to read everything: newspapers, magazines and books," she proffers. "There are plenty of really good people within the State."
Increasingly, however, when a position becomes available at The Iowan, Clark receives resumes from qualified candidates outside of the State. "That's exciting to me-that people realize that the quality of life is very good, that we place a high value on education," she notes.