Carolyn Dyer was a professor of journalism at the University of Iowa for 38 years. After earning her bachelor's degree, Dyer worked as a newspaper and radio reporter for six years in Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin, before earning a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Dyer completed postgraduate work at the Newberry Library, and later taught at Wisconsin at Madison and Colorado State University. She joined the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Iowa in 1978, where she developed The Iowa Guide: Scholarly Journals in Mass Communication and Related Fields, and saw her research published in Journalism Quarterly, The Georgetown Law Journal, and Journalism History. Dyer's research initially focused on nineteenth-century journalism, and later on news coverage of rape and of mental illness. Dyer received press for her hand in the discovery that Mildred Wirt Benson was the ghostwriter behind the first Nancy Drew books, under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. She went on to organize and chair the first conference on Nancy Drew, held at the University of Iowa in 1993. She co-edited Rediscovering Nancy Drew, a collection of essays drawn from the conference.