Kyle Munson, president of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation

Kyle Munson is a lifelong journalist, storyteller, writer, and content creator. 

He spent 24 years in daily news with The Des Moines Register, including eight years as the Iowa columnist. Since 2018 he has worked as a senior content strategist and writer for Principal Financial Group. 

A fifth-generation Iowan, Kyle was born in Cedar Falls, where he spent all of six months. He was raised in southwest Iowa, where his work in community journalism more or less began with his first articles in the “6th Grade News Flash,” published on a mimeograph in Macedonia.   

Kyle is a proud alumnus of Central College in Pella, Iowa, and studied Shakespeare in London. (Kenneth Branagh remains his favorite Hamlet.) 

During his Register career, his journalism blended news, personality, investigation, and opinion. He won numerous awards, including Midwest Emmys for documentary video and regular accolades as a top columnist and reporter. He co-produced and hosted public issues forums on topics such as immigration reform and racial justice. He was a founding member of the Des Moines Storytellers Project. He helped launch and produce the “Just Go Bike” podcast. In 2017 he won a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to travel to China and produce an in-depth series on U.S.-China relations. Earlier in his career he served as an editor on the Register’s first digital news team and spent a decade as Iowa’s chief pop music critic, spending time with the likes of Bono, Paul McCartney, and Slipknot. He launched his first features column in 1995 and another in 2002. He covered many years of the Iowa caucuses, the Iowa State Fair, and the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).

Kyle lives in Slater, Iowa with his architect wife, Ann Sobiech-Munson. Their trombonist son, Frankie, is currently a sophomore studying music and economics at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.


  • 1. Storytelling basics: From understanding your audience to word order within a sentence, every detail matters.
  • 2. Interviewing techniques: Perceptive questions and uncomfortable silence.
  • 3. Column writing: Clarity of thought, strength of voice, and flow of prose.

What have you found most useful in coaching writers:

Conversation among the group, examples to prompt discussion, occasionally letting them generate their own prose on the spot. KYLE MUNSON

Kyle was so informative. I could have listened to him for hours.

Okoboji writers’ retreat participant