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.

KELSEY RYAN is founder, publisher and editor of The Beacon. Previously, she worked at The Kansas City Star on the investigative team that was named 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’s a board member for the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government and frequently lectures at universities in Kansas and Missouri.

MARK HORVIT is the interim executive director of The Beacon. He is an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he teaches investigative reporting, and is director of the school’s State Government Reporting Program. He previously served as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR), where he conducted training in investigative reporting and data journalism throughout the world. Horvit worked as a reporter and editor for 20 years before joining IRE. He’s a former Beacon board member.

JENNIFER HACK WOLF is the audience development manager at The 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.

MARIA BENEVENTO is The Kansas City Beacon’s education reporter. Previously, she reported on Missouri state government as an intern with the Jefferson City bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, attended graduate school at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and served as an editorial intern at the National Catholic Reporter in Kansas City.

CELISA CALACAL is the economics and civic engagement reporter at The Beacon. She previously worked at KCUR as a news intern before helping produce the daily talk show, Central Standard. She’s also contributed to KCUR’s newest podcast, A People’s History of Kansas City. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation and The American Prospect.

BRITTANY CALLAN is the health and environment reporter at The Beacon, and a corps member through Report for America. Previously, she worked as a communications associate at The Medical College of Wisconsin and was a fact checker for Discover Magazine. Originally from Milwaukee, she graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering.

EMILY WOLF is a local government accountability reporter with a focus on telling meaningful stories through data. Previously, she worked as an editorial associate for Investigative Reporters and Editors, covered state government for the Columbia Missourian and was a Dow Jones News Fund data intern. Her coverage of child care legislation was honored by the Missouri Press Association. Prior to moving to Missouri, she grew up in Round Rock, Texas.

TIFFANY SCANTLEBURY is a marketing and engagement social media specialist for The Beacon. She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University, where she received her degree in interactive digital media with a visual emphasis. Tiffany was born and raised in Kansas City, and in her free time enjoys spending time with her family, playing Xbox and reading.

HILARY BECKER is an editorial social media specialist for The Beacon and oversees all social media channels. 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 social media channels at nonprofits and media organizations. In her free time she can be found cooking, rock climbing or enjoying a new show or book.

HANNAH RITCHIE is a copy editor for The Beacon. After receiving degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of Missouri, she worked as a copy editor at several large newspapers, including The Austin American-Statesman and The Kansas City Star. Hannah grew up in Arizona and in her free time enjoys learning languages, traveling and reading.

MOY ZHONG is a Summer 2021 audience engagement intern and journalism and digital storytelling student at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Zhong has contributed to The Columbia Missourian and is an art assistant for Vox Magazine. She’s driven to amplify marginalized voices in her reporting, especially within Asian American communities, and has a knack for journalism innovation projects. In her free time, she enjoys making art and taking care of her house plants.

SOPHIA BELSHE is a Summer 2021 reporting intern and rising senior at the University of Kansas, majoring in journalism and political science. Previously, she worked as a news reporter and editor at the University Daily Kansan, KU’s student newspaper. Sophia is from Overland Park, Kansas, and enjoys watching movies, reading and traveling in her free time.


  • Alexis Allison
  • Marlee Baldridge
  • Zach Bauman
  • Chase Castor
  • Cynthia Gregorian
  • Roxie Hammill
  • Jamie Hobbs
  • Joseph Jungermann*
  • Anne Kniggendorf
  • Alexis Lanza*
  • Annie T.H. Le*
  • Zachary Linhares
  • Kathy Lu (editor)
  • Mili Mansaray*
  • Andrew Marso
  • Jacob Moscovitch
  • Michael Pearce
  • Danielle Randle
  • Barb Shelly
  • Sidney Steele
  • Dominick Williams

*Former intern