|Rep. Ro Khanna|
Burns reports he and Khanna met in December 2018, at a gathering to recognize Accenture’s development of a software-development branch in Jefferson, the seat of Greene County: "Khanna knows many rural Americans, sweeps of folks in the countryside of Iowa, are angry over real and perceived losses to their ways of life. Recent elections, as Khanna is well aware, have seen that discontent manifest in anti-immigrant language or votes and vitriol hurled against political figures tied to the urban elite. Should rural Iowans feel this angry, is it earned and real, and if so, where should it be directed?"
After their meeting, "Khanna visited Carroll twice, and he connected our newspaper with Silicon Valley innovators," Burns reports. "Khanna inspired us to launch a digital marketing company, Mercury Boost, to capture revenue beyond our web and print ads. He put us, and our friends at the neighboring, Denison-based Spanish-language La Prensa, in the room with key people from tech companies — most notably the Facebook Journalism Project. . . . Combined, the Carroll Times Herald and La Prensa received a $75,000 grant to pursue more digital subscriptions and to construct the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation, a non-profit organization involving Carroll, Jefferson, Denison, Storm Lake and Harlan. . . . Facebook awarded the Times Herald and La Prensa an additional $85,000 in grant money to keep our newspapers alive and churning out vital public-health stories during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s a $160,000 lift from Facebook to La Prensa and The Times Herald, with $35,000 for La Prensa and the remaining funds being used to boost Carroll digital subscriptions and create the non-profit organization that will support multiple western Iowa newspapers."