Book: A Transplanted Chicago


A transplanted Chicago: Race, place and the press in Iowa City (McFarland) explores the migration of black residents from inner-city Chicago to an Iowa City, Iowa neighborhood, a form of diaspora that has been met in recent years with increased stigmatization in news and public discourses. Royalties from this project are donated to the Community Foundation of Johnson County (Iowa).



– Explicates how the institution of white supremacy operates within news coverage and public policy to subjugate minority positions in society.

– Applies sociological understandings and cultural theory to implicate news media as dominant place-makers.

– Through the use of mental mapping as methodology, creates the notion of news placemaking to identify the ideological practice of characterizing geography in the press.


Release & Reviews

You can order it here.

“Methodically innovative, this book illuminates journalism’s power to shape not only our sense of place but also our shared prejudices.” – Matt Carlson, St. Louis University, author of On the Condition of Anonymity: Unnamed Sources and the Battle for Journalism.

“This book meticulously peels back the curtain on reporting in one midwestern town, showing clearly that stereotypes and innuendo regularly seep into “straight” news stories, disguised as authoritative reporting. Words meant to uncover truth end up driving it further into hiding.” – Robert E. Pierre, co-author of A Day Late and a Dollar Short: High Hopes and Deferred Dreams in Obama’s ‘Post Racial’ America.

“The book is compelling journalism as well as compelling research about journalism. With careful reporting, in-depth analysis, and lyrical writing, A Transplanted Chicago offers a powerful portrait of inner-city troubles in the heartland, troubles exacerbated and constructed by the news.” – Jack Lule, Lehigh University, author of Daily News, Eternal Stories: The Mythological Role of Journalism and Globalization and Media: Global Village of Babel.

“How the Media Stokes Racism in Iowa City — and Everywhere,”, June 21, 2014.

Podcast review on, July 1, 2014.

“Journalism professor explores racial prejudice in media with new book,” The Beacon, July 21, 2014.

“The ‘Southeast Side’ myth,” Little Village, August 21, 2014.

“Interview: Iowa City Book Festival author Robert E. Gutsche, Jr., on “Race, Place and the Press,”, October 3, 2014.

“Enduring migrations: A conversation with Writers’ Workshop grad Ayana Mathis,”, October 3, 2014.

Related Papers


Refereed Articles

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2015). Boosterism as banishment: Identifying the power function of local, business news and coverage of city spaces. Journalism Studies, 16(4), 497-512. (DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2014.924730). PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2014). News place-making: Applying ‘mental mapping’ to explore the journalistic interpretive community. Visual Communication. 13(4), 487-510. (DOI: 10.1177/1470357214541754). PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2014). ‘Life between fingers’: A response to news photography of an ‘urban ghetto.’ Visual Communication Quarterly, 21(1), 14-23. PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2011). Building boundaries: A case study of the use of news photographs and cultural narratives in the coverage of local crime and in the creation of urban space. Visual Communication Quarterly, 18(3), 140-154. PDF


Refereed Presentations

Salkin, E. & Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2015). Behold the monster: Mythical explanations of deviance and evil in news of the Amish school shooting, Association for the Education of Journalism & Mass Communication, Cultural and Critical Studies Division, August 6-9, San Francisco, California.

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2013). Mediated place-making: Implicating news media as dominant definers of geography for panel titled Contested content: Mediated spaces, cultural spheres, & neoliberal discourse, International Communication Association Conference, June 17-21, 2013, London.

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. & Kinney, D. (2012). Breaking bias boundaries: Using storytelling to bridge community, Scholarship in Action: Communities, Leaders and Citizens, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, August 9-11.

Gutsche, Jr., R. E., Kinney, D., & Baker, R. (2011). Opportunities for strengthening democracy through campus/community engagement, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Gutsche, Jr., R. (2010). Creating cultural conflict: Biased geographic reporting of crime on the ‘Southeast Side,’ Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. Mass Communication and Society Division, Denver, Colorado.


Invited Papers and Presentations

Gutsche, Jr., R. (2012). “This ain’t the ghetto”: Diaspora, discourse, and dealing with “Iowa Nice,” Poroi, 8(2)PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. & Baker, R. (2011). (E)Racing Iowa City: Using digital storytelling to reconstruct identity, community and home, James F. Jakobsen Conference, University of Iowa.


Select Editorials and Columns

The future of news. Little Village, February 4, 2015.

The black ‘Pleasantville’ migration myth: Moving from a city isn’t pleasant, The Guardian, March 28, 2014.

Racism hides in segregated Iowa City, Des Moines Register, March 21, 2014. (Versions also published in The Iowa City-Press Citizen, Shreveport (LA) Times, The Daily Iowan, The (Cedar Rapids, IA) Gazette.



Click below to view mental maps made by:



offic officials


rez residents