The editorial independence of our editors and reporters is critical to the mission of The Beacon. The standards 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.
SAWYER BELAIR, is the data and public health reporter for The Wichita Beacon. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Belair is a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who found his calling in journalism after spending his first two years of college studying physics and mathematics. Since then, he’s worked as a reporter at the UNL student-run Daily Nebraskan, Norfolk (NE) Daily News and, most recently, the Lincoln Journal Star. Beyond his passion for weaving compelling data with human-centric storytelling, Sawyer is an avid enjoyer of science fiction, the outdoors and thinking way too hard about the nature of human existence.
MIRANDA MOORE covers state government for The Wichita Beacon. Previously, she worked as an award-winning investigative reporter with the USA TODAY network in Florida. Prior to that, she wrote for The Washington Post, and provided research and data analysis for “60 Minutes” at CBS News and BuzzFeed News. She has also reported from the Missouri statehouse for the Columbia Missourian. Before becoming a journalist, she worked as a paralegal at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and served in the Peace Corps in Uganda from 2009 to 2011. She holds masters degrees from the University of Missouri in business and investigative journalism, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies.
KRISTEN NICOLE POWELL is the Wichita Beacon’s Community Engagement Bureau Manager. She started her career working at the Center for Combating Human Trafficking and has also worked as a journalism intern, researching youth advocacy and the movement to close youth prisons. Kristen graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and also has experience in advocacy, organizing and social justice.
TRACE SALZBRENNER (he/they) is a reporter at The Wichita Beacon. His background is in community media and journalism, working for radio stations and newspapers across Colorado, where he grew up, and Kansas. Trace is a lover of music, animals and photography.
POLLY BASORE WENZL is the editor of The Wichita Beacon. She has deep ties in the Wichita community to journalism, nonprofits and education. Wenzl’s background includes 15 years as a reporter and editor with experience covering government at all levels, including as a Washington correspondent. The author of five books, she also specializes in narrative non-fiction and teaches a course at Wichita State University called “The Power of Storytelling” with her husband, Roy Wenzl. Wenzl holds degrees in journalism from Oklahoma State University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
📸 Fernando Salazar
📸 Alex Unruh
✍️ Joe Klopus
✍️ Cecilia Green
HILARY BECKER is the director of product 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.
STEPHANIE CAMPBELL is The Beacon’s CEO. Campbell brings deep experience in nonprofit leadership roles spanning the education, startup, philanthropy, technology and performing arts industries, as well as skills in budget management, venture philanthropy, strategic planning and employee engagement. Campbell previously served as vice president of operations and communications at Kansas City-based nonprofit Leanlab Education, a nonprofit working towards equity in K-12 education, and associate director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri Kansas City. In her free time she enjoys unwinding on the tennis court and spending time with her three kids.
SCOTT CANON is the editor-in-chief of The Wichita Beacon and The Kansas City Beacon. Previously, he was managing editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of NPR affiliates. He was also a reporter and editor at the Kansas City Star for several years, covering local, regional international stories.
NAOMI O’DONNELL is The Beacon’s director of audience. Naomi brings extensive experiences in events, marketing and user engagement with an emphasis on community impact. Prior to joining The Beacon, Naomi managed mental health awareness campaigns alongside large-scale corporate communications and attendee experiences at Overflow, LLC. She holds an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and combines a creative approach with data-driven efforts to engage audiences. Outside of the office, you’ll find Naomi slowly restoring her historic Volker bungalow.
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.
About Our Founder
KELSEY RYAN is a highly accomplished journalist and nonprofit manager who has made significant contributions to the field of journalism in Kansas and Missouri. She founded The Beacon, a nonprofit news network that serves the two states with newsrooms in Kansas City and Wichita. Under her leadership, The Beacon gained a reputation for high-quality, local journalism and reporting, and received numerous awards and accolades.
Prior to founding The Beacon, Ryan worked as a data and investigative journalist at The Kansas City Star, where she was part of an investigative team that was named a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist in Public Service for its series on government secrecy in Kansas. She also worked at The Joplin Globe and The Wichita Eagle, where she covered health care, city government, and conducted investigations.
In September 2022, Ryan joined the Association of Health Care Journalists as its executive director, where she is responsible for leading the organization’s efforts to promote and support quality healthcare journalism.