Biographical / Historical
Louisville native Keith L. Runyon was born in 1950 and began his career in journalism while still a teenager. At sixteen years of age Runyon served as teen editor of The Evansville Courier. In 1969, shortly before he began his sophomore year at the University of Louisville, he joined the staff of The Courier-Journal as an obituary clerk in July 1969. That entry-level job initiated a twenty-six year career with the newspaper. Over the next two decades, Runyon juggled increasing responsibilities on the newspaper with continuing education, professional, family, and community activities. He has long been editor of the Editorial and Forum pages of The Courier-Journal and is credited by many in the industry for achieving balanced opinions. He is also influenced many other newspapers to modernize their graphics and layout of editorial pages.
Runyon studied in England at the University of London in 1971 and received his B. A. degree from the University of Louisville in 1972. Upon graduation he joined the news staff of The Courier-Journal, serving a short internship before becoming a feature writer, general assignment writer, and a specialist in religion, higher education, and health issues. One of his early assignments was covering his alma mater, the University of Louisville, as it entered a crucial transition period to move from municipal to state institution.
In 1977, the same year Runyon was elevated to the Editorial Board, he entered the University of Louisville Law School. Over the next five years, Runyon worked part-time writing editorials while completing his J.D. degree in night classes. In 1982 he became a part-time legal counsel to the Bingham companies while retaining his role as an editorial writer, and from 1984 to 1986 divided his time between these two responsibilities. Following the newspaper's sale to Gannett in 1986, he was appointed editor of the Forum. He has also been responsible for the Saturday Book Forum since 1989. Subsequently, he was named editor of Editorial Page and then editor of Opinion Pages early in 1991.
Active in the National Conference of Editorial Writers, Runyon served as chair of the Education Committee, which sponsored a number of workshops providing critical reviews of editorial pages. As a member of the University of Louisville's Alumni Association's board of directors, he has chaired its publications committee.
In 1971 Runyon received a scholarship from the English-Speaking Union for study in Great Britain. From 1972 to 1987 Runyon served on the board of that organization's Kentucky branch with his primary interest the continuation and growth of the scholarship program.
Runyon is an elder at the Calvin Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Meme Sweets Runyon, have two children, Amelia and Keith, Jr. Ms. Runyon is executive director of River Fields Inc., a non-profit organization that monitors environmental conditions along the Ohio River.