KC McGinnis is a photographer and photojournalist raised in Iowa and based in Des Moines. He's interested in visual depictions of religion, with an eye toward white evangelicalism and its future in the twilight of its hegemony in American...
Focus:Photographer, Photojournalist, Journalist, Editor, Writer, Politics, Video Editor, Multimedia, News, Video, Photography, Portraiture, VR, Freelance, Professor, Visual Communications , Lecturer
Leading up to the 2020 Iowa caucus, I photographed Creston, a town about the same size and only a few miles away from the town where I grew up. Iowa's small towns aren't that different from one another: most are old railroad hubs built in the late 19th century that today function as small agricultural hubs or bedroom communities for larger cities nearby. Creston has the same population density, the same architecture, the same smattering of local businesses struggling to capture local attention despite being housed in gorgeous 19th-century Richardsonian Romanesque buildings from the railroad era.
As a teenager, my first internship was with a newspaper very similar to Creston's own News Advertiser. After visiting Creston's cattle auction house, well-known in the area for its adjacent burger cafe, I had lunch with the News Advertiser’s publisher and managing editor. Despite national trends, local news is thriving there. It turns out that community newspapers provide an important social glue that is especially effective in smaller, rural communities, regardless of politics. While Iowa's larger media entities depend heavily on the revenue generated during caucus season and may shutter at the prospect of Iowa losing its first-in-the-nation designation, it seems that Creston could take or leave it.
Publisher Rich Paulsen stands in the printing press room of the Creston News Advertiser, as well as several other local publications, in Creston, Iowa on Friday, December 13, 2019. KC McGinnis for La Croix L'Hebdo