Kathy Kiely’s decades of experience working as a reporter and editor for both regional and national print publications have resulted in many accomplishments throughout her career. However, the accomplishment she is most proud of, may be surprising to some.
“Throughout my career as a journalist, I am most proud of quitting,” Kiely said. “I was in a position as a political editor, where I wasn’t able to assign the stories that I thought needed to be assigned, so instead of going against my values, I quit…it is one of the proudest moments of my career.”
Kiely has covered every presidential campaign since 1980. She has been a journalist in Washington, D.C. for over 40 years and has worked for numerous multimedia news outlets, including New York Daily News, USA TODAY, billmoyers.com and the Sunlight Foundation. And now, Kiely is the latest journalism professor at UNH, adding another accomplishment to her illustrious and ever-growing resume.
“It’s a beautiful place,” Kiely said. “I’ve been to New Hampshire quite a lot, mostly in the winter to cover presidential campaigns, so being able to see the campus and the state in a different time of year, and being around people who are smart, and care about learning, and want to make a difference, it is really an awesome environment.”
Prior to her 40 years of journalism experience, Kiely graduated from Princeton University, in one of the first classes to admit women. She then went on to get her master’s degree from American University in the field of interactive journalism.
“I’ve always loved helping young reporters,” Kiely said. “Anyone who has been a journalist knows what it feels like to be new at the business and I love being able to use my experience to help.”
“I feel very strongly that this is currently a pivotal moment for journalism,” Kiely added. “There are things we can do in a university environment, risks we can take, experiments we can try, that can help keep journalism alive until we figure out a way to make it profitable again.”
Kiely has taught journalism at American University, George Washington University and her alma mater, Princeton. Now at UNH, Kiely is teaching ENGL 621: Writing and Reporting the News I and ENGL 735: Entrepreneurial Journalism.
“I think that every teacher, as the great Geoffrey Chaucer said in ‘The Clerk’s Tale,’ ‘gladly would he learn and gladly would he teach.’ Everyone who undertakes teaching should be eager to learn from their students,” said Kiely. “I think bringing together people who have years of experience in the field with people who have their whole lifetime of experience consuming news digitally, that’s when we can make something happen and make sure this technology gets used for the good.”
Kiely is a huge supporter of upholding the values of accurate language. In her teaching, she hopes to create an environment where the value is put on truth and not on spin.
“Be hopeful,” Kiely said. “This is a great time to be a journalist. The disruption in the field of journalism has created an enormous amount of opportunities for people who are young, digitally savvy and willing to work hard.”