Kathy Kiely


Endowed Chairs, Journalism Professions

Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies

214 Reynolds Journalism Institute
Missouri School of Journalism
Columbia, MO 65211-1200

KATHY KIELY is a veteran reporter and editor with a multimedia portfolio and a passion for transparency, free speech and teaching. After a long career covering politics in Washington, Kiely moved into the classroom full-time because, she says, universities are the laboratories that will discover the formula for making fact-based journalism viable again.

A 2017-18 journalism lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, Kiely has also taught at American University, George Washington University and Princeton University.

As the inaugural Press Freedom Fellow for the National Press Club‘s nonprofit Journalism Institute, Kiely has organized events around free speech issues and advocated for journalists who have been jailed or threatened for their work, most notably Emilio Gutierrez-Soto, a Press Club award winner released in Aug. of 2018 by U.S. immigration officials. Barbara Cochran, the School’s Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting, heads the Journalism Institute.

Kiely’s reporting and editing career includes stints as a Web producer for WAMU-FM, and as an editor for Bill Moyers and for Bloomberg Politics. She is an interdisciplinary team builder: At the Sunlight Foundation, she worked with reporters, designers, developers and policy advocates to press for more access to government data and create web-based tools that made it more user-friendly. At the National Journal, she worked with counterparts at CBS News to train and supervise a multimedia team covering 2012 presidential campaign.

Kiely covered Congress and national politics for USA TODAY, headed Washington bureaus for The Houston Post and The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was a White House correspondent for the New York Daily News and a general assignment reporter and Washington correspondent for The Pittsburgh Press.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, a master’s degree from American University and was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. A member of the Gridiron Club and numerous other professional organizations, Kiely served on the congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents and has been a longtime trustee of The Daily Princetonian, the college paper where she started her journalism career.

Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies
The Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies is named for Lee Hills, who had a long and varied newspaper career. He worked as a reporter, foreign correspondent, news editor, editorial writer, editor, managing editor, executive editor, and publisher and CEO of two major newspapers, the Detroit Free Press and the Miami Herald. Hills, who attended the Missouri School of Journalism between 1927 and 1929, was also the first chairman and CEO of Knight-Ridder Newspapers. The Hills Chair also is part of a national network of Knight Chairs in Journalism, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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Updated: October 19, 2023