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NDN welcomes new journalist to the team

When Zach Johnson came back to Newton a few years ago, he knew two things: He wanted to work in media communications, and he wanted to be involved in the community. When a recent position became available for a journalist at the Newton Daily News, he felt it was the right time to apply.

Zach was right. Today he starts his first full day as a staff writer at the Daily News, covering beats such as business, religion, breaking news and city council.

Zach grew up in Newton and graduated from Newton High School in 2004. While growing up, Zach said he wanted to be a member of nearly every group he could get his hands on. He was active in school publications, and he loved participating in sports. He wasn’t just involved in a handful of sports but tried almost all of them — football, wrestling, boys swimming, soccer and tennis.

Zach was a sports editor for the school newspaper called the Cardinal Chronicle, and he helped with the annual yearbook. He said his involvement in high school is what started a passion for communication.

Zach went on to study media relations at Iowa Central Community College. He was again the sports editor for the college’s campus paper the Iowa Central Collegian. His favorite sport is football, and the team he has enjoyed watching the most this year is the Denver Broncos.

After Zach moved home and adjusted to the old norms, he found himself wanting to be more involved in the community as he had been in previous years.

He is proud to have helped the Newton Capitol II Theater reopen and worked with owners Dawn and Paul Bleeker on painting. He said he introduced the idea of video games on the big screen, events like a Madden 2013 and Call of Duty Black Ops II tournaments.

“It was a great time. It made me really enjoy being back into town,” he said.

Over the years, Zach has experienced writing in different mediums, but he said he never found himself on a full staff, like at a daily newspaper, but that’s what he wanted to do.

“I’m without a doubt excited about the business beats. That’s kind of been my major passion as of late. Since I know a lot of business owners, I feel that the readership will have a lot more stories on the small businesses of Newton, and they’re going to see a whole lot more coming from business beats.”

You can find Zach almost anywhere around town. He’s always out walking, going around to local businesses, going out with friends, or having dinner. But he enjoys his down time too and staying in. Zach is an avid fan of video games, enjoys cooking, watching movies and says one of his biggest secrets is that he’s a bigger nerd than most people would ever know.

Here are some fun facts to know about Zach Johnson: favorite holiday, Christmas; favorite band, anything country; favorite movie, “The Ugly Truth”; favorite book, “50 Shades of Gray” series; favorite color to wear, black; favorite color, blue; favorite sport, football; favorite business, First Avenue Speakeasy; favorite restaurant, Raceway Café; favorite season, summer; favorite newspaper section, sports.

Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at

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