Wichitans shaping the future of community information

The Wichita Beacon’s Community Engagement Bureau is a journalism lab reimagining local media. We do this by equipping people with skills and resources, engaging in critical public conversations and producing information that directly addresses people’s needs.

Our ultimate goal is to equip communities with the tools to eliminate information inequity.

The Wichita Beacon’s Community Advisory Board

About a dozen community members advise our organization on its journalism, help research underserved audiences, and improve our service to the community.

A network of community representatives

The Wichita Beacon pays community members to help our Community Engagement Bureau learn more about community trust, information sources and how well local news serves YOU.

Araceli Amador loves to be informed and involved in her community. She is passionate about building lasting relationships through community advocacy and business.

Arionna Tull loves Wichita! She currently works as a Community Connector and Health Care Associate. They are continually learning skills and using them to work to support community development. Passionate about justice for all, she looks forward to engaging with the community and ensuring their voices are shared through The Beacon.

Mai-Nhanh Dao loves to listen and participate in conversations that help communities overcome any challenges they might face.

Marquan Teetz, or MT, is passionate about motivating youth to utilize their voices for the change they want to see in the world. He began his journey advocating for justice for his little brother Cedric “CJ” Lofton, who was killed while in the foster care system. 

Jeanette Harding is connected with the MacDonald neighborhood and the artistic community of Wichita. She loves learning from different cultures.

Michelle Leo likes to connect diverse communities and is particularly connected in Delano and Riverside. She prides herself in making sure everybody has a seat at the table.

Kara Billie is the owner of Shop Risky, a clothing store, and has collaborated with celebrity stylists to see her work on artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Karrachue Tran and DaniLeigh. She created the Risk Taker Social Club, hosting events promoting diversity and entrepreneurship. Kara now uplifts local businesses through PR, marketing and project management.

Kimmie Pahdocony is a Native American who wants to see underserved communities represented in local news.

Rommy Vargas is rooted in Wichita’s Spanish speaking community. She has committed her life to sharing information that strengthens the Wichita community.

Tracey C. Mason Sr emerged from 10 years in prison and became a mentor for at-risk youth. After returning to his hometown of Wichita, Tracey opened CHD (Condition Heart Discipline) Boxing Club, a safe place for kids and adults, and began promoting his “gloves over guns” philosophy. He also advocates for justice in the case of Cedric “CJ” Lofton’s in-custody death.

Community Engagement Bureau values

The Wichita Beacon’s vision for community engagement is ambitious. Here are some of the values you’ll see reflected in the work ahead.

Traditional media metrics (clicks and page views) don’t tell the complete story. Our engagement work centers positive change in our community as the most important impact.

Power in listening
Our paid community representatives will explore neighborhoods, conduct interviews and host gatherings to further community understanding.

Strengthening information
Listening efforts from the Community Engagement Bureau surface story tips, neighborhood concerns, good news and questions that go straight to our newsroom so we can see where our attention is most needed.

Addressing real issues
Networked with beat reporters, neighborhood groups and community services, community representatives can help the newsroom track down answers, publish information and relay answers to the community.

Developing solutions
As we uncover news preferences and accessibility barriers, we’ll develop necessary materials, — for example, audio recordings, social media posts, flyers — to distribute to people who need information.