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Kathleen Richardson

Dean & Professor, Media Law

Kathleen Richardson worked at The Des Moines Register for 20 years in a variety of newsroom jobs: copy editor and copy desk chief, wire editor, news editor, features editor, book reviewer and columnist.

Richardson taught part-time in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication for several years before joining the faculty full-time in 2001. She was director of the School from 2007-2014 and has been Dean since 2014.

She was the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a non-profit organization that promotes open government, from 2000-2015. In that role, she produced educational materials on the state’s open meetings and records laws, conducted workshops and answered citizens’ and journalists’ inquiries. She was also a founding member of the Iowa Public Information Board, a state agency that helps enforce the open-government laws.

Richardson has been given the Iowa Newspaper Association Distinguished Service Award and the Governor's Volunteer Award; honored by the state judicial branch for her service to the state legal system; and named an Iowa Watch Free Press Champion and Iowa State University Greenlee School Friend of the First Amendment.

Richardson is married to fellow Drake SJMC alumnus Doug Wells, a retired photojournalist. They have three adult children. 



Contact Information

Phone: 515-271-2295
Mailing Address:
    2507 University Ave
    Des Moines, IA 50311
Office: Meredith 118A
Office Hours: By appointment


  • Undergraduate and master’s degrees from Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Doctor of jurisprudence from Drake Law School in spring 2002