Jackie Rehwald, reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

Nearly 10 years ago, then-executive editor of the Springfield News-Leader David Stoeffler offered me a job as the paper’s family reporter, writing mostly about kid-friendly activities, money-saving tips and feature stories aimed at working moms.  

It wasn’t the type of reporting I’d dreamed about while in journalism school at Mizzou, but I was relatively new to Springfield and wanted to get back into a newsroom.  

I took the job, knowing that other beats and opportunities at the paper would later become available. That happened. Over the next few years, I wore a couple different hats at the News-Leader. Eventually, I landed in a beat that was a good fit: social causes.  

I’ve spent the last several years writing about issues I am passionate about, including poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, mental health and the child welfare system.  

Fast forward to late September of 2021, David Stoeffler – who’d been gone from the News-Leader for about seven years – offered me a different job. This time, he asked me to be part of the Springfield Daily Citizen as a public affairs reporter.  

The job description and his vision of how the nonprofit news organization would operate really appealed to me. I liked the idea of working closely with editors to produce both in-depth reports as well as daily stories that inspire civic engagement – and hopefully fill in some gaps in our community’s current local reporting. 

As part of the Daily Citizen’s reporting team, I will continue to write about those topics I’ve been covering for years. But I’m also getting to delve into new-to-me subjects like transportation.

I look forward to taking deeper dives into these subjects, looking for root causes of problems and potential solutions, gaps in services and ways the community can get involved and make a difference.  

And after nearly two years of working from home, it’s been fun settling into this new kind of newsroom here in the basement of MSU’s Freddy Hall. 

At a recent staff meeting, Stoeffler talked about the pressure we’re under at the Springfield Daily Citizen. But he also hopes someday we’ll look back on this as the highlight of our careers. I believe that will be true. 

Some might say it was risky to leave my job at the News-Leader to be a part of a startup. But after nearly a decade in corporate media, I’m thrilled to be part of this small nonprofit organization with local control and leadership.  

It doesn’t feel like a risk to me. It feels like perfect timing, and I can’t wait to get started. 

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers housing, homelessness, domestic violence and early childhood, among other public affairs issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald