Q&A: Our newest contributor

After writing a few stories we felt like we should introduce our latest contributor to the Clay & Milk network.

Jess Lynk, a senior journalism student at Drake University, will have a reoccurring role moving forward with Clay & Milk. Lynk will cover issues at the state level and tell stories from Iowa’s tech, startup and art communities.

Lynk grew up just outside of Chicago and moved to Des Moines for school. She will graduate this Spring. To read what Lynk has contributed to Clay & Milk, click here.

Our Q&A is below:

Why Drake and Des Moines?

JL: Born and raised in Illinois, I always thought Iowa was our boring next door neighbor. But when I started looking at colleges, Des Moines caught my eye. The idea of going to college in a city that exists without the college was really attractive to me. I also saw the rapid growth of the Des Moines as an amazing opportunity. Now, I have been here since 2014 and can say Des Moines impresses me every day.

Have you enjoyed it?

JL: I know everyone says this about their college, but there is something about Drake University. Drake is full of opportunity, despite its size. The professors genuinely care if you succeed and they position you to do so. Being in Des Moines gave me the opportunity for real-world experience. One of those experiences is the Caucus. During Caucus season, Des Moines becomes the center of the country, and for a journalism major interested in politics that was really attractive.


What’s been your favorite part of going to school in Des Moines?

JL: Honestly, the people I’ve met. People in Des Moines are different than most people I have interacted with. They genuinely care about politics and their community.  They show up and share their opinion. They care about this city and what happens to it. They show up for school board meetings, town halls, protests and anything and everything else. They want to make a difference, which makes being in Des Moines so much better. This is what I think makes the Iowa Caucus unique and why it will always be first. Iowans care enough to help weed out politicians.

What got you into journalism?

JL: I signed-up for my first journalism class when I was 14.  Luckily for me, my high school invested in its journalism program. There, I met my (now) mentor who showed me how important journalism is to a democracy and to the world, really. Now, seven years later, I’m still in the field.

What areas do you like to cover? Policy/politics? Education? Ag?

JL: Issues that impact real people.

Whether that be in the political or technology space, I love talking to people about their story. This normally lends itself to policy news really well but almost every topic has a real impact on a lot of people and I love to find them. Nowadays, I am really passionate about telling the stories of women, especially those who are underrepresented. I am also really passionate about covering stories about communities that come together.

Sometimes this is a tech community lifting up a startup other times this is a community rallying around someone to get them elected.

What experience do you have with the tech and startup community here in Des Moines?

JL: I don’t have much, but with each new story I cover for Clay & Milk, I learn so much more. I have learned so much about tax credits in the past few weeks. Before starting here though, I did understand the growth that the tech and startup community was and is experiencing, and it’s been cool to see that up close.

Did you know there’s that much happening?

JL: Yes! There is always so much to cover and look for. There are always, always, always more stories to tell, which makes me excited every day. It can be hard to keep up, but the fast-paced cycle keeps me moving and interested always.

Any interest in the arts?

JL: As someone who grew up in a creative space, I love the arts. I have so much respect for people who take nothing and make it into something beautiful. Whether that is a painting or a song or some other creative outlet, it is always so inspiring to cover someone who is doing something they love.

What should Clay & Milk readers know about you as a reporter?

JL: As a reporter, I put myself in others’ shoes. I ask questions that I believe matter to everyone. Through my reporting, I hope to best to show why every issue matters, even if it’s not to you at that moment.