Lyle Muller, the first editor of Iowa Watch, grew up in rural northeastern Iowa and had a personal and professional interest in reporting on the struggles of rural hospitals. Jennifer Hemmingsen, a former reporter and now an editorial writer at the Seattle Times, recalls the uproar in rural Minnesota when Mayo Clinic announced its plan to remove inpatient medical and surgical services and obstetrics from the local hospital in Albert Lea. Hemmingsen’s parents grew up in the area, and her first newspaper job was in the town. “It really felt like their town would be abandoned. It was huge.