Journalist Borg, ‘Iowa Press’ host, dies at 81
By RYAN J. FOLEY
IOWA CITY — Broadcast journalist Dean Borg, who kept Iowans informed for decades as the host of the public affairs television program “Iowa Press,” has died at age 81, Iowa PBS announced Monday.
Borg died Sunday afternoon due to complications caused by pancreatic cancer, the network said in a statement.
Borg appeared on “Iowa Press,” which airs on Friday evenings, from its debut in 1971 until his retirement as moderator in January 2017. He kept working for Iowa Public Radio, which he joined in 2000 as an Iowa City-based correspondent, until his death.
Borg was known for questioning state politicians, presidential candidates and other newsmakers and hosting panel discussions about the issues of the day. He interviewed every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, and moderated some nationally televised debates during the Iowa caucuses.
Colleagues and politicians remembered Borg on Monday as a giant in Iowa journalism who had tremendous integrity and was a true gentleman on and off the air.
Iowa PBS general manager Molly Phillips says Borg was widely admired by his colleagues.
“His experience, intelligence, tenacity, and most of all, integrity was what made him such a unique and invaluable journalist and friend,” she said in a statement. She said that no matter the subject, he “always brought his best to each broadcast.”
Iowa Public Radio executive director Myrna Johnson called Borg “one of the best reporters the state has ever seen.” She said he covered everything from politics to natural disasters with “a steady hand and complete integrity.”
Borg grew up in Forest City and studied journalism at Iowa State University and earned a graduate degree in public administration from the University of Iowa. He began his broadcasting career at radio station WMT in Cedar Rapids, where he eventually led a staff of dozens of journalists.
Iowa PBS senior producer Andrew Batt said in a statement that Borg was a mentor who “strived for truth and in-depth information in an era of partisan political coverage.”
Iowa PBS said Borg is survived by his wife and five children, who are planning a private funeral service due to coronavirus pandemic precautions. The family asked that donations be made to the Mount Vernon Schools Foundation or the Iowa PBS Foundation.