Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Kansas officials downplayed involvement in Marion newspaper raid. Here’s what they knew

By: - November 6, 2023

MARION — Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody enlisted the support of local and state law enforcement officials in the days before he led raids on the local newspaper office, the publisher’s home and the home of a city councilwoman. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Department of Revenue, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the […]

Kansas reporter sues Marion police chief, alleging retaliation in newsroom raid

By: - August 31, 2023

TOPEKA, Kansas — Police Chief Gideon Cody arrived at the Marion County Record and handed a copy of a search warrant to Deb Gruver, the veteran reporter who had questioned him about alleged misconduct at his previous job. As Gruver read the search warrant, she told Cody she needed to call her publisher and editor, Eric […]

‘Completely unjustified’: Affidavits point to abuse of power in raid on Kansas newspaper

By: - August 21, 2023

TOPEKA — Affidavits signed by a police chief and magistrate to warrant the raid on the Marion County Record were supposed to provide evidence that a reporter committed a crime. Instead, they serve as evidence that the local officials abused their power. Police Chief Gideon Cody received approval from Magistrate Judge Laura Viar to conduct […]

Kansas newspaper publishes in defiance of police raid — and gets seized property back

By: - August 17, 2023

MARION, Kansas — Marion County Record staff worked through the night to publish the paper’s weekly edition as scheduled Wednesday, days after police raided the newsroom and confiscated computers, cellphones and other items. A single word screamed across the top of the paper in 200-point bold type — “SEIZED” — followed by a defiant statement: […]

Summoning inspiration from solitary, Missouri resident wins PEN America prison writing award

By: - September 8, 2022

TOPEKA — Alex Tretbar scratched Lou Reed lyrics into the concrete “rhomboid exoskeleton” of an Oregon jail’s solitary confinement hole, then found the strength to write about it. “Some people work very hard,” the song goes, “but still they never get it right.” Tretbar, a Wichita native and University of Kansas graduate, references the experience […]

Kansas plans Sept. 1 ‘soft launch’ of sports wagering for start of football season

By: - August 19, 2022

TOPEKA, Kansas — Sports wagering in Kansas will launch Sept. 1, state officials said Thursday, allowing bets to be placed at the start of football season. Lawmakers in April passed legislation to greenlight sports wagering in the state under the administration of the Kansas Lottery. The action was estimated to generate revenues of up to $10 million […]

Kansas abortion-rights activists emphasized attack on personal rights to defeat amendment

By: - August 4, 2022

TOPEKA — For Ashley All, the effort to defeat a constitutional amendment that would have eliminated abortion rights is the most consequential campaign the Kansas political veteran has worked on. The issue is personal, All told news reporters during a conference call Wednesday morning. “I have four daughters, and this” — All paused. “I don’t […]

Kansas voters defeat anti-abortion amendment in unexpected landslide

By: and - August 2, 2022

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Voters in a landslide Tuesday defeated a proposed amendment to the Kansas constitution that would have stripped residents of abortion rights, defying polling and political observes who expected a close result. The ballot measure was failing by a 63-37 margin at 9:45 p.m. as voters responded to an intense and costly campaign marked […]

Demise of Roe v. Wade adds gravity to Kansas’ vote on abortion constitutional amendment

By: and - June 24, 2022

TOPEKA, Kansas — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday striking down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide resonates deeply in Kansas where a proposed constitutional amendment on the August ballot could set the stage for a wave of new abortion restrictions in the state. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat campaigning for […]

Kansas, Montana senators unveil plan to provide VA care for burn pit exposure

By: - February 2, 2022

TOPEKA — U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran and Jon Tester say swift action is needed to ensure post-9/11 combat veterans who were exposed to burn pits can receive medical care. Moran, a Kansas Republican, and Tester, a Montana Democrat, in a news conference Tuesday outlined a billion-dollar plan to offer access to VA medical care to […]