Growing up, Kyle Woosley loved writing. As a child, he would pen children’s books with illustrations for his grandma and other family members. Once he got to high school, he began thinking of careers involving writing. Woosley signed up for the journalism classes offered, which he really enjoyed. After that, he knew he wanted to pursue journalism.
Woosley began college at Morehead State University before transferring to Eastern Kentucky University. Woosley said he transferred to EKU because Morehead reminded him a lot of his hometown of Mount Sterling and he wanted to experience a new place.
“I kind of liked the idea of being somewhere new, and EKU had a much more robust journalism program than Morehead did so that was what kind of led me there, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Woosley said.
Once at EKU, Woosley became heavily involved with the Eastern Progress, the student newspaper on campus. He began with practicum stories and assisted with copy editing through his class. He mainly worked on feature pieces, but his first big, front-page story was about an arson incident. Woosley was copy editing in the Eastern Progress office and was asked to cover the story since the editors were unavailable.
“It was the most stressful thing because I had never done anything like that before,” said Woosley. “Instead of copy editing that day, I did that, and they were very impressed with that.”
As a result, Woosley was offered a position on the editorial staff for the next semester. He worked as the assistant news editor before becoming managing editor his senior year.
As managing editor, Woosley was able to write longer-form pieces. The first story he remembers writing where he made an impact was a profile of a transgender student and her struggles with housing. Woosley was able to tell her story and transition in a way that emphasized how much that individual had been through in life.
“It felt very important to tell that story. Up until that point, I was just writing because I enjoyed it and to keep people informed, but that was the first thing where it was like, ‘Oh, this stuff actually affects people,’” Woosley said.
Woosley won three Kentucky Press Association Awards during his time with the Eastern Progress, two of which were related to his feature story. In 2012, he won first place for Best Editorial Page. In 2013, he won second place for best column and third place for best spot news coverage.
After graduating from EKU in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Woosley spent a few years working for The Advocate Messenger in Danville before he decided to return to school. He received a master’s degree in journalism from DePaul University. Woosley said he was not considering graduate school until his time at EKU.
“It was never something I wanted to do. I think EKU helped me fall in love with what I was doing so much that after I finished at EKU it didn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities,” said Woosley.
During his final semester of graduate school, Woosley completed an internship with WGN-TV in Chicago. Once he graduated, Woosley worked for a legal services firm for two and a half years doing marketing and public relations work. At that time, Woosley spent one or two nights a week volunteering with a non-profit organization called the Heartland Alliance. He taught English classes and United States citizenship classes for immigrants and refugees. While volunteering, he came across an opportunity to teach English in Spain for a year, where he previously studied abroad and fell in love with the culture. When he got the chance to return, he gladly took it. He moved to Madrid and taught English at a high school for six months until COVID-19 hit.
Once he returned, Woosley began working at the Georgetown News-Graphic, where he said getting back into journalism was initially jarring.
“It was kind of jarring to go back at first but I really loved that experience. That job really kind of helped me find my footing again and just fall back in love with what I was doing,” Woosley said.
Woosley currently works as a communication specialist for a PR firm in Cincinnati, where he handles different accounts and uses his journalism background in a new way.
For those considering journalism as a career path, Woosley said to fully embrace the chaos and think of each piece as an extension of yourself.
“The thing I like about journalism is that your name is kind of on every single thing, so I just try to think that everything I ever write is kind of an extension of myself and who I am as a person,” Woosley said.
No matter where he goes, Woosley always credits EKU for providing him with the necessary skills to excel in his career.
“I just don’t think that I would be where I am today if I hadn’t gone to EKU. I tell people all the time that those two years at EKU were probably some of the best of my life and it’s such a good experience both educationally and socially and personally,” said Woosley.