Chad Leistikow is making an impact in Des Moines. Des Moines Register
I love my job. I love producing sports content and connecting with everyone who is as passionate as I am about tracking the Iowa Hawkeyes.
I’ll admit, this column … I wasn’t as excited about putting it together.
But it’s one that needs to be written.
All I ask is that you’ll keep an open mind and read on.
The world is changing. Newspapers are changing, too. We were too late to change in a lot of ways. Our industry wrongly assumed newspapers would never die. But we know (and you know), readership of the print product is dwindling along with the size of newsrooms.
If you are already a current subscriber of our print or digital product, THANK YOU. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you.
Starting Sept. 4, HawkCentral.com and the Hawk Central app will become a subscription service.
If you’re not yet part of the subscriber family, you'll get free access to a handful of articles each month. After that, we’re going to ask you to start paying for the stories, photo galleries and videos we publish on Hawk Central.
The cost for full access this Iowa football? About $31. For the entire football season and basketball, too. The breakdown: 99 cents the first month and then $4.99 a month for the next six months. After that, it's $6.99 a month. Starting Wednesday, you'll find subscription options for the Des Moines Register, Iowa City Press-Citizen or Hawk Central at HawkCentral.com.
SUBSCRIBE: Start a new Hawk Central subscription today
Important note: If you’re already a Des Moines Register or Iowa City Press-Citizen subscriber, you don’t need to change a thing. You’ll have access to Hawk Central with your existing logins.
If you follow other sports media around Iowa, you’d be hard-pressed to find more bang for your Hawkeye buck. When I heard we were going to this model for Hawk Central, I was stunned to hear the cost was this low, to be honest.
Nonetheless, I understand family budgets are tight. At my house, we watch every dollar we spend, too.
But about a year ago, I bit the bullet and began subscribing digitally to the Chicago Tribune.
As many of you know, I’m as passionate about the Chicago Bears as you are about the Hawkeyes. And, as I mulled how I wanted to get my Bears fix, I settled on the Tribune. Because, in my opinion, it has the best and most thorough Bears coverage out there.
On a related note … it’s my opinion that our Hawkeyes coverage in the Register and Press-Citizen is unmatched.
We send reporters on the road, whether it’s to Ames or the Cayman Islands. There are several basketball games every year at which we are the only Iowa outlet with a reporter.
We send our reporters to track down rich storytelling features, like Drew Ott on his Nebraska farm or a former mega-Hawkeye recruit in a southern Illinois prison.
We break news that matters to you — Oliver Martin’s eligibility waiver, Jordan Bohannon’s hip surgery and 2019-20 season being in doubt, Hawkeye wrestling news and recruiting updates on the top Hawkeye basketball targets like Xavier Foster and Caitlin Clark are recent examples.
We offer year-round blanket coverage of Hawkeye football and basketball, including women’s basketball coverage from Dargan Southard. We are the only newspaper in the state to have a full-time recruiting reporter, who covers Hawkeye basketball and football recruits in the state and out of the state. We have the reigning national wrestling writer of the year in Cody Goodwin, who dominates his beat as the Hawkeyes’ national championship window has come open. Southard also brings you Iowa baseball coverage unlike anything we had done previously.
We think what we currently do has tremendous value to Hawkeye fans. But as we make this change, we wanted to also make sure we are continuing to increase our value to you.
As an added benefit to subscribers, we are going to up our podcast game. Postgame podcasts will be for subscribers only on HawkCentral.com, and Mark Emmert and I will add subscriber-exclusive pregame pods as the games get bigger. We are focused on delivering more Big Ten and college sports coverage from our nationwide USA TODAY Network, including newsletters that will deliver the latest on the Hawks and the Big Ten straight to your inbox. We're also looking for new ways to enrich the relationship between readers and reporters like me.
If you’ve read this far, thank you.
Now, two final personal notes if you want to keep reading.
No. 1: When I open my Tribune app, there’s power and pride in knowing that when I press my thumb against an article, it’s something I have access to that others don’t. I am getting informed and enriched for maybe 25 cents a day, and I know I am helping those reporters stay employed to keep the good content coming.
No. 2: I’m 45. This job as Hawkeyes columnist is a dream come true. I take pride in doing journalism well and doing journalism right. I’d love to do this, with you by my side, until my last house payment in 2042. But the truth is, if we don’t start getting more digital subscribers, we can’t get paid.
And, to borrow a line from acclaimed Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel on this touchy topic: If we can’t get paid, we can’t stay around.