Rob Kaiser Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Rob Kaiser specializes in multimedia storytelling, from the conceptualization and creation of online journalism in all its new and emerging forms to the reporting and writing of hard-news stories, narrative features and literary nonfiction.
Kaiser, a journalist for more than twenty-five years, has been a reporter, columnist, editorial writer, magazine writer, senior editor and writing coach. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Tribune Magazine and many other publications. In 1999 he wrote a four-part narrative series for the Tribune on the shooting death of a Chicago cop that was anthologized in Best Newspaper Writing 2000. In 2001 the Tribune assigned him to drive around the country for three months filing dispatches from the road about life in America after the terrorist attacks of September 11. In 2002, his two-part narrative story exploring how the attacks had affected Chicagoans working in Sears Tower served as the centerpiece of the Tribune’s look back at 9/11 one year later.
Kaiser also has worked for the San Antonio Express-News, The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader and The Post-Crescent, in Appleton, Wisconsin. As senior projects editor in charge of the Sunday paper at the Express-News and later at The Post-Crescent, Kaiser conceptualized, supervised and edited several award-winning multimedia projects, including the 2008 report “State of Drinking” (www.postcrescent.com/stateofdrinking), a month-long series examining the culture of drinking in Wisconsin.
Much of Kaiser’s work as a journalist is archived on his website, www.rm59.net.
Besides coaching reporters, writers and editors at the newspapers where he has worked on staff, Kaiser has given talks, seminars and workshops to groups across the country, including the staffs of the Dallas Morning News, The Daily Oklahoman and the Lexington Herald-Leader; the Press Club of Dallas; the National Writers Workshop of the Poynter Institute; the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest; and the Kentucky Press Association.
Kaiser has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he graduated with high distinction from the honors program in 1984. He is a 1994 Duke University-Knight Ridder Fellow and a 2006 graduate of Harvard University’s Nieman Conference for Narrative Editors.
His research includes an exploration of the power of numbers in storytelling and a study of the narrator’s role in biography that ranges from the gospels to Norman Mailer’s Marilyn. An essay he wrote on narrators in biography is set for inclusion in the anthology Human Voices, a compilation of winning entries from the 2010 Kentuckiana Metroversity Writing Competition. In 2007 Kaiser wrote the introduction to Best of the Best: Literary Nonfiction of the Mayborn Conference, for which he served as associate editor. Currently he is writing a personal biography of legendary escape artist Harry Houdini.
A Lexington native, Kaiser lives in Buffalo with his wife, Laurie, and their sons, Sawyer and Jacob.