A free email newsletter breaking down the issues that affect Kansans and Missourians the most.
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The Beacon’s staff handle editorial content, audience development and day-to-day newsroom operations. The editorial independence of our editors and reporters is critical to the mission of The Beacon. The standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News are our guide. Prior to working at The Beacon, journalists (staff and freelancers) agree to uphold the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. Journalists also disclose conflicts of interest and provide references and samples of past work to editors.
We’re always looking to expand our team and work with journalists from backgrounds and areas underrepresented in media. Click here to learn more.
MARIA BENEVENTO is The Kansas City Beacon’s education reporter. Previously, she reported on Missouri state government with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, attended graduate school at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and was an editorial intern at the National Catholic Reporter in Kansas City. Maria is a Report for America corps member.
GARY ENRIQUE BRADLEY-LOPEZ is The Kansas City Beacon’s Community Engagement Bureau manager. Previously, Gary worked as a Director of Communications and Outreach as well as a Community Organizer for two local non-profits that serve the greater Kansas City region. Gary earned a Master of Professional Studies in organizational leadership from Fort Hays State University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education in organizational leadership and development. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playwriting and making people laugh through stand-up comedy or just being around.
MEG CUNNINGHAM is The Beacon’s Missouri Statehouse reporter. Previously, Meg worked as a national politics reporter for ABC News in Washington, D.C., where she covered campaigns and elections. Meg is a Kansas City native and graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking and yoga.
MADISON HOPKINS is the health care accountability reporter at The Kansas City Beacon, focused on the intersection of health policy and people. Previously, Madison worked as an investigative reporter for the Better Government Association, a nonprofit newsroom in Chicago covering recycling program failures, the absence of regulatory enforcement at Illinois nuclear plants and more. In 2022, her reporting on Chicago’s bureaucratic breakdowns that contributed to fatal fires was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
JOSH MERCHANT is The Kansas City Beacon’s local government reporter. After graduating from Seattle University, Josh attended Columbia Journalism School, earning a master’s degree in investigative journalism. Originally from Colorado, Josh has contributed reporting to The Seattle Spectator, The South Seattle Emerald and THE CITY in New York. They were a Fall 2021 intern at The Beacon.
HILARY BECKER is the audience and product manager for The Kansas City Beacon and The Wichita Beacon. She graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in marketing. She has over six years of marketing experience growing audiences at nonprofits and media organizations. In her free time she can be found cooking, rock climbing or enjoying a new show or book.
CHELAN DAVID is vice president of development for The Beacon. He has over 20 years of experience in fundraising, sales and marketing, and has served on a number of boards including the Association for Fundraising Professionals, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, Wonderscope Children’s Museum and KU Advancement Board. A native of Kansas, he graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. In his free time, he enjoys jogging, traveling, reading and spending time with his two daughters.
JENNIFER HACK WOLF is the audience director for The Kansas City Beacon and The Wichita Beacon. Previously, Wolf launched a design-thinking consultancy, Below the Fold, helping nonprofits across the region solve critical problems. A Kansas City native, she spent more than 14 years at The Kansas City Star, first as a photographer and later as photo editor and editor of Ink Magazine. A Kansas City native and graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, she and her husband live in a old fire station and enjoy exploring the Flint Hills of Kansas.
MIKE MATSON is executive director of The Beacon, leading its regional nonprofit management infrastructure — including development, finance, HR and marketing. A lifelong Kansan, his career began in journalism, which included covering the Statehouse for a Topeka television station and a statewide radio network. He managed communications for Kansas Gov. Bill Graves and outreach/civic engagement for the Kansas Leadership Center. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Sunflower Foundation, which serves as a catalyst to improve the health of Kansans, and on the Boards of Manhattan Area Technical College and Katie’s Way, a non-institutional team-based mental health provider. He lives in Manhattan, Kansas, with his wife and two Australian Shepherds.
KELSEY RYAN is founder and publisher of The Beacon, leading editorial, audience and product strategy for the two newsrooms in Kansas City and Wichita. Previously, she worked at The Kansas City Star on the investigative team that was a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist in Public Service. Originally from Newton, Kansas, she started her career covering the EF-5 tornado at The Joplin (Missouri) Globe, and later worked at The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle covering health care, city government and investigations. She serves on the board of directors for the Kansas Coalition for Open Government, which promotes open and transparent government, and the Institute for Nonprofit News, which works to strengthen and support more than 360 independent news organizations across the U.S.
BILL SUNDAHL is vice president of corporate partnerships at The Beacon. After a varied set of careers that led to the Fundraising Leadership Series at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2016, his passion for connecting people with ways to grow our community took root. Sundahl founded the Crossroads Music Fest in 2005. He spent eight years at KKFI 90.1 FM, starting as an events and volunteer coordinator, then development director. The last 10 years also found him playing bass and singing in the Starhaven Rounders. He and his wife are the proud parents of two daughters who all love to find fun places to camp near the water.
Alexis Allison ✏️
Marlee Baldridge ✏️
Zach Bauman 📸
Celisa Calacal ✏️
Brittany Callan ✏️
Chase Castor 📸
Anna Funk ✏️
Cynthia Gregorian ✏️
Roxie Hammill ✏️
Jamie Hobbs ✏️
Joe Klopus ✍️
Anne Kniggendorf ✏️
Annie T.H. Le 🌟
Zachary Linhares 📸
Kathy Lu ✍️
Mili Mansaray🌟 ✏️
Andrew Marso ✏️
Josh Merchant 🌟
Jacob Moscovitch 📸
Sarah Nessel ✍️
Michael Pearce ✏️
Danielle Randle 📸
Hannah Ritchie ✍️
Tiffany Scantlebury 🎨
Barb Shelly ✍️✏️
Emily Standlee 🌟
Sidney Steele ✏️
Dominick Williams 📸
Emily Wolf ✏️