Courtney Crowder is the Iowa Columnist and a senior writer at the Des Moines Register. She tells human stories with an investigative eye and a narrative touch. She’s a two-time Livingston Award finalist and has won numerous Iowa Newspaper Association Awards and Best of Gannett honors. She co-founded the Des Moines Storytellers Project, a live storytelling event series, and co-launched the Register’s new Off Hours entertainment vertical. During the COVID pandemic, Crowder led the Register’s efforts to document the names and stories of Iowans who died of COVID and penned a 7-part series, “Inside COVID’s Siege,” after spending weeks embedded in an Ames ICU. She believes in coaxing out the universal truth in people’s stories and knows that if you dig deep enough into anyone’s stories, you’ll find everyone’s story. A graduate of New York University, Crowder previously worked at the Chicago Tribune. She is a gummy bear aficionado and parallel parking master.
Some of her favorite stories: REDEMPTION ON HIGHWAY 218
THE LIFE, MURDER, AND LEGACY OF MOLLIE TIBBETTS
The untold story of Mollie Tibbetts’ final moments — and her family’s 3-year struggle to reclaim her memory
FEDERAL EXECUTION OF DUSTIN HONKEN
- From meth to murder: How a small-town Iowa boy became the state’s first death row inmate in 50 years
- ‘Hail Mary, Mother of God, pray for me’: Iowan Dustin Honken says short prayer before being executed
- I witnessed the execution of Dustin Honken. I’m still not sure whose justice was served.
INSIDE COVID’S SIEGE
(landing page for seven-part series): Inside an Iowa hospital gripped by COVID-19
- Part I: Courage, sorrow, exhaustion and worry inside an ICU fighting the coronavirus
- Part II: ‘Just keep fighting’: How COVID-19 tore through one Iowa family
- Part III: Iowa teacher grapples with COVID-19 survivor’s guilt
- Part IV: Hospital housekeepers are hidden heroes battling COVID-19
- Part V: Young nurses hold phones and hands on an Iowa COVID-19 floor
- Part VI: Maternity nurse helps grieving families cherish memories
- Part VII: ‘We’re not giving up’: An Iowa hospital staff finds the best way to battle COVID-19 lies within themselves
- How to write stories people want to read: Let’s take a look at writing a good story from start to finish: *How do you know an idea is worthy? *How do you interview a character? (Focusing on journalism and narrative non-fiction, but can be used to “interview” fictional characters as well. *How do you outline or create a story structure? *When do you start writing? *Wait, is this best as a newspaper article? A book? *Why are details the lifeblood to any story? *Let’s talk story from big to small and everywhere in between.
- Authentically you: Writing reflects who you are and your values. But being a writer nowadays is a lot more than publishing. How to handle your online presence, to succeed at gigs, and to live as your purest self.
- Panels TBA: Courtney will appear on panel discussions, too.