The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, or IowaWatch, is pleased to announce three new members to the Board of Directors. Rose Rennekamp, Alan Swanson and Linh Ta join a group of volunteers that guides the nonpartisan news nonprofit that works with students to develop investigative and explanatory news stories provided for free to Iowa news outlets.
Linh Ta, who joined the board in March 2019, is a business reporter specializing in retail at the Des Moines Register. She was born and raised in West Des Moines and graduated from Valley High School in 2011. She moved north to attend school and study political science at the University of Northern Iowa and work as the executive editor of the student paper, the Northern Iowan. There, she reported for IowaWatch on depression on college campuses. After graduation, Ta moved back home to Des Moines to work at The Register, play with her cat, Artemis, and explore all the biking trails the metro area has to offer. In February, Ta received the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalist of the year for 2018. Her term ends in 2022.
Alan Swanson, who joined the board in September 2018, is a Realtor and philanthropist who received an masters degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and who was a Daily Iowan reporter. He was the first marketer for the UI Press’s academic publications of poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction, and also designed book jackets and the book Samuel Johnson’s Early Biographers. Later, he became the first communications director of the University of Iowa Foundation. On his 30-year anniversary, then senior vice president, communications and administration, Swanson left the UI for a second career at Iowa City real estate firm Blank & McCune. He now is co-owner/co-broker of the company. Swanson has served on area board including Iowa Able Foundation, Iowa Architectural Foundation, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, United Way of SE Iowa, Iowa City Area Association of Realtors, Iowa City Public Library Foundation (president), Summer of the Arts, Riverside Theatre (president), Iowa City Community Theatre, and Englert Theatre. He admires wordsmiths, and is a news addict. His term ends in 2021.
Rose Rennekamp, who joined the board in June 2018, is a retired marketing and communications professional who worked for Whirlpool Corporation, Amana/Raytheon and ACT. Rennekamp has bachelors and masters degrees in textiles from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa. She started her career designing laundry equipment for Whirlpool, but held a host of other roles including that of first women to hold a vice president role at Raytheon. In 1997, ACT recruited Rennekamp to become its vice president of communications. In this position, she led ACT’s first ventures into Internet marketing, its first website and first online apps. She developed a syndicated newspaper column, College and Career Corner, which appeared in more than 250 U.S. newspapers. In retirement, Rennekamp serves on the boards of directors for the Kirkwood Community College Foundation, The Heritage Center on Aging, Kirkwood Community College and The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Her term ends in 2020.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, which runs IowaWatch.org, is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-partisan journalistic program dedicated to producing high quality investigative journalism while training journalism students on this work at a high, ethical level.