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Tow Center Mourns the Loss of Randy Brubaker

The Tow Center lost a friend on Saturday, May 3, 2014 when Randy Brubaker, senior news director for investigative reporting of The Des Moines Register, passed away from apparent heart failure, according to the newspaper. He was 55.

He had planned to come back to work Monday.

“Bru,” as he liked to be called, served as a panelist for the Moving the Newsroom: News Spaces and Places report unveiling on April 10 at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. He spoke from 26 years of experience about the newsroom.

He shared stories about how The Des Moines Register had moved from its 1917 building to its new floor-and-a-half space in an office building, shared some memories and told us about the advantages of the changes. You can see a video interview with him here:


Bru was also a key voice in the Moving the Newsroom research project, adding important color and details to the report, and welcomed me into the newsroom.

Visiting New York gave him the chance not only to be on his first Columbia Journalism School panel but also his first chance to see a Yankees game. I’m glad we could give him the full New York journalism and New York sports experience.

Nikki Usher is a Tow Fellow working on the Tow Center’s Newsroom Places and Spaces in a Post-Industrial Age Project at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. The Newsroom Places and Spaces in a Post-Industrial Age Project is a project made possible by generous funding from both The Tow Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Newsroom Places and Spaces in a Post-Industrial Age Project ourneys to newsrooms that show a prominent sign of an adaptation to a post-industrial world: newsrooms that have left their buildings for smaller spaces, often entirely designed around the idea of a digital-first model, or that have repurposed their space to make way for non-journalists, hoping for synergy and a way to fill empty spaces. Follow Nikki Usher on Twitter @nikkiusher. To learn more about the Tow Center Fellowship Program, please contact the Tow Center’s Research Director Taylor Owen: taylor.owen@columbia.edu.