Rob Dillard

Correspondent

Rob Dillard is a Des Moines based correspondent for Iowa Public Radio. He joined IPR in 2001 as host of Morning Edition and moved to reporting in 2007.  He has been on special assignment for IPR since early 2011 reporting the ongoing series “Being in Iowa.” It has taken him around the state shining light on small segments of the population, including Muslims, military veterans, Latinos and the physically disabled. The series has won awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and Northwest Broadcast News Association (NBNA).

Rob has extensive experience in radio, newspaper and media relations dating back more than 30 years. He has also taught news writing at Central College in Pella. Rob earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications at the University of Iowa.

Rob’s favorite public radio program is Morning Edition.

Ways To Connect

Photo extracted from a Dove Program poster circulated on the White Earth Indian Reservation.

The recipient of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s highest honor is being recognized for her environmental work while serving on the Jasper County Conservation Board and elsewhere. The Newton woman credits her Native American heritage for instilling a love of Mother Earth.

Credit: Grinnell College

Grinnell College President Dr. Raynard Kington leads one of the nation’s most selective, academically challenging institutions of higher learning. He uses his family’s oppressed past to introduce social justice issues to students.

Jim Mowrer for Congress Facebook Page

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Mowrer says he will not apologize for or remove television ads his campaign is running against Republican Congressman Steve King.

Rob Dillard

  Midwest-based hybrid seed giant Dupont-Pioneer, which has offices worldwide, employs someone called

   an Organizational Vibrancy Champion. In other words, she’s in charge of diversity.

“An organization becomes more vibrant when you have diversity inclusion, when you have employee engagement.”

Claudia Schabel

  holds the job on the sprawling campus of Dupont-Pioneer in Johnston. She’s nearly ideal for the job. Half of her character was shaped next to her twin sister in South America.

“I grew up in Capinas, Sao Paolo in Brazil,” she said

Rob Dillard

Li Zhao Mandelbaum comes from a nation of more than one-point-three-billion people. So the concept of small is relative.

“I often introduce myself, I’m from Nanning, a small city in China, and people will say OK tell me the population, and I will say well, we have about six million population,” she said.

Her hometown is about an hour’s flight west of Hong Kong near China’s border with Vietnam. It’s known for its lush greenery and hilly terrain. But despite its beauty, it wasn’t enough for the adventurous, young Li Zhao.

Rob Dillard

A few dozen of Central Iowa’s high-tech brain trust are pouring beers and munching tacos on the fifth floor of a downtown Des Moines office building.

They’ve come together a few days before the lights go out on a business incubator that became the centerpiece for an area known as Silicon Sixth.

They exchange pleasantries with the two men at the heart of Startup City Des Moines – Christian Renaud and Tej Dhawan.

Before the party began, Dhawan sat in a remote conference room and reflected on what he was looking to accomplish for high-tech firms in Central Iowa.

Rob Dillard

The marching band’s drum-line sets the tone for the first day of classes at Marshalltown High School.

Sixteen-hundred students fill the football-field bleachers as the school’s principal – Aiddy Phomvisay  – grabs a mike.

“If I could have your attention for less than five minutes," he announced. "I know that’s amazing that Mr. Phomvisay is only going to take five minutes to address the student body.”

Rob Dillard

Her name is Salome Nengean – born in the northwest Iowa town of Sioux Center – raised in Nigeria. She’s 29 now and, with her husband, frequently travels to the place of her youth where her mother still lives. She says during one of these trips in 2011.

“We happened to meet two kids, who were living with an elderly woman, and somehow they just caught our attention," she said. "There was just something cute about them, there were other kids, but they would just separate from the rest of the group and sit together.”

Read this candidate profile of 3rd District Candidate David Young. He was interviewed as part of IPR's 2014 Primary Voter Guide series.

Iowa Public Radio will be asking the Board of Regents next week to return its funding level for fiscal year 2015 to the amount it received in 2013: $944,800. 

That would be  $236,200 more than it was scheduled to receive under a strategic plan approved by the Regents three years ago, which gradually reduces Regents funding over a 6-year period.

A key part of the IPR plan is to become independent from university funding by 2017, replacing it with large donor contributions.

2013 has been a busy year for Iowa Public Radio's news team. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with reporters and correspondents about some of the most meaningful and challenging stories they covered. It's a "reporter's notebook" edition of the show.

Here is a list of the full features heard on today's show:

January 10 - Undocumented Immigrants at University

Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

$81-million Bond Referendum approved for court services in Polk County

Iowa City bars will remain 21-only after 10 p.m. 

Cedar Rapids approves Local Option Sales Tax for road repair

The Board of Directors of Iowa Public Radio has named Myrna Johnson as its Executive Director effective January 27, 2014.

“After an extensive search process that began in April we are pleased Myrna has agreed to join us on January 27, 2014.  Her impressive resume, exceptional references, adept interview and public presentation skills give us great confidence in her leadership and her fundraising capabilities.  I’m confident our staff, board, donors, underwriters and listeners will enjoy working with her” said Douglas West, Chair of the search committee. 

Filmmakers and movie lovers are descending on Tipton this weekend for the Hardacre Film Festival. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard  reports, when the festival goes dark tomorrow (Saturday) night, so too will the theater in which it plays.

The Board of Directors of Iowa Public Radio has reached a financial settlement with former Chief Executive Officer Mary Grace Herrington.

Herrington was fired from the top job at Iowa Public Radio in late February.

According to the agreement signed by Herrington and Board Chair Kay Runge, the board will make two payments totaling 197-thousand dollars to Herrington.

The settlement says the money is for “emotional distress and other compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees and expenses.”

In exchange, Herrington agrees to “release all claims against IPR.”

We’ve spent the week with people who perform some of the toughest work there is – the professionals and families who care for the sick and dying.  We conclude with a road trip to the south side of Des Moines. Correspondent Rob Dillard rides along with a home health nurse as she makes one of her 20 or so weekly patient visits. She delivers a style of health care reminiscent of bygone days when medical personnel often arrived at their patients’ doors to provide services. This kind of direct care is still in demand for those who are unable to venture far from home.

Iowa Public Radio has been bringing attention to the families and professionals who tend to the health needs of Iowans. It can be stressful and emotional work, perhaps never more so than when the person in need of care nears the end of life. Correspondent Rob Dillard takes us to a comfortable, peaceful place set on the edge of woods in Des Moines. It’s a hospice, a home where many people move to spend their final days.

Correspondent Rob Dillard examines the difficult responsibilities that go along with taking care of someone who is sinking into dementia. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s. According to figures supplied by the local Alzheimer’s Association, some 69-thousand Iowans suffer from this debilitating disease. This number will likely swell to 71-thousand by 2020 and 77-thousand by 2025.  Dementia most often strikes the elderly. But in this report, Rob tells us it can also hit people in the prime of their life, bringing heartbreak to families with plans for their golden years.

Today, we continue our week-long series “Being a Caregiver in Iowa.” Yesterday we looked at professional caregivers, who face low pay and lack of training. In most cases, however, the responsibilities of direct care-giving fall to families. When it comes to families with an autistic child, this work can last a lifetime. In Part Two of our series, Iowa Public Radio correspondent Rob Dillard takes us to West Des Moines, where we meet the parents of an autistic boy, and their teenage daughter, who keeps an eye on her kid brother.

Iowa Public Radio is returning this week to its “Being in Iowa” series. Over the next five days, correspondent Rob Dillard will be asking the question, what does it mean to be a caregiver in the state? We begin today by talking about those who provide direct care for a living. It’s an occupation dominated by women and it’s one of the fastest growing workforces in the state. It’s also a job that pays very little and that many end up leaving. Rob Dillard reports on why – and how the state may be changing that.

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12/6/12  4:30 PM UPDATE: 

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department says they're confident that two bodies discovered Wednesday by hunters in a Bremer County wildlife area are those of Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey. 

"We have no one else that’s missing in this area, we have two bodies that were found, smaller in stature, so we have nothing to think other than that at this time," Sheriff’s Captain Rick Abben said. 

Being in Iowa: Quakers

Oct 26, 2012

In the final segment of this week's "Being in Iowa," we meet some Christians who go by a couple of names. We know them as Friends or as Quakers. There are also two branches of this religion in Iowa, representing two distinct approaches to worship.

Being in Iowa: Hindus

Oct 25, 2012

The Hindu Temple south of Madrid is an eye-catching structure with plaster images of animals and deities carved all over the outside surfaces. It’s where 500 families pray to the God they call Brahman, which they say is found in everything.

Being in Iowa: Atheists

Oct 24, 2012

It’s impossible to put an exact number on how many people in the state describe themselves as atheist or agnostic. Many of them prefer to stay quiet about it. Iowa Public Radio correspondent Rob Dillard asked several Iowans who do not believe in a supernatural power about where they stand in a society that generally thinks religion is a good thing.

Being in Iowa: Sikhs

Oct 23, 2012

Iowa Public Radio is looking at how different groups of Iowans connect with God. Today, we examine the beliefs held within a 500-year old religion established in the Punjab region of northwest India and northeast Pakistan. In Punjabi it’s pronounced Sikhism (SICK-ism). Over the years, it’s been Anglicized to Sikhism (SEEK-ism). The practitioners at a Temple in West Des Moines pronounced it both ways.

Being in Iowa: Mormons

Oct 22, 2012

With a devout Mormon running for president, pundits have labeled this period “the Mormon moment.” But polls indicate half the American public admits to knowing very little or nothing about the religion. Rob met with some practicing Mormons in Iowa City to understand more about their faith.

Nearly every transplant to Iowa from Southeast Asia who we’ve met this week has been in the state for a number of years. Iowa has a long history of welcoming them. That’s partially why refugees from that corner of the world continue to arrive. The latest are from the country now known as Myanmar. But it’s almost impossible to lump these new arrivals into a single group of refugees.

In part four of our series “Being Southeast Asian in Iowa.”  we explore what it takes to integrate into a place where the people speak a different language and practice different customs. Is it possible to maintain the traditions from back home and embrace the American way of doing things?

Thousands of Southeast Asians left behind the familiar culture of their homeland for a fresh start in Iowa. Although they’re now living on the opposite side of the world from their birthplace, these immigrants strive to maintain the traditions of their native countries. Correspondent Rob Dillard explains the lengths to which they go to bring a touch of Southeast Asia to the American Midwest.

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