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Michael Gartner

Michael Gartner (born October 25, 1938, in Des Moines, Iowa) is an American journalist and businessman. He was President of the Iowa Board of Regents. He is a graduate of Carleton College and the New York University School of Law.

His long career in journalism began in the sports department of the Des Moines Register at the age of 15. Eventually, he became page one editor of The Wall Street Journal (1960-1974), editor and president of the Des Moines Register (1974-1985), general news executive of the Gannett Company and USA Today (1985-1986), editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal (1986-1987) -- during which time he served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors -- and president of NBC News (1988-1993).

He resigned from NBC in 1993 as a result of controversy over the show "Dateline NBC." The show reported on dangers of GM pickup trucks, but did not state that it had staged the explosion of a truck for broadcast. Years later Gartner said, "It happened on my watch. I took responsibility for it. I did what I thought you ought to do when you make a mistake. You say 'we made a mistake' and apologize to the viewers." (Iowa City Press-Citizen, April 23, 2005.)

As chairman and editor of The Daily Tribune in Ames, Iowa, from 1993 to 1999, Gartner won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for his editorials about community issues. He has also been a columnist for the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal and of USA Today.

Gartner chaired the Vision Iowa fund, which provided communities money to fund projects such as the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, from 2000 to 2005. In May 2005, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack named him president of the Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees the state's three public universities (the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa). Gartner is also chairman of Raccoon Baseball, Inc., which has owned the Iowa Cubs baseball team since 1999, and is co-owner of Big Green Umbrella Media, which publishes the Cityview alternative weekly newspaper in Des Moines.



GOP candidates, religion, and same-sex marriage in Iowa
COMMENTARY | December 31, 2011
Michael Gartner says Republican presidential candidates and their supporters should read Iowa’s 2½–year-old same-sex marriage ruling instead of bashing it. If they did, they would find a ringing endorsement of freedom of religion, not a rebuke or challenge to it.

There’ll be one less GOP candidates' debate in Iowa
COMMENTARY | November 23, 2011
The Des Moines Register, a sponsor of presidential candidate debates for many years, won’t get a chance this time around to improve on its much-ridiculed 2008 effort, which the Wall Street Journal, in one of the kinder critiques, called 'infamous.' All isn’t lost; the Register will be a (junior) cosponsor of another, earlier debate.

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