Award-winning journalists to give inside look at Kansas Statehouse

By Harvey County Now staff

NORTH NEWTON–The public will get journalists’ view behind the curtain of the Kansas State Capitol at an upcoming forum.

Journalists from the Kansas Reflector will speak and answer questions at the event “What’s happening in the statehouse?” held at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, at Krehbiel Auditorium on Bethel Campus, North Newton.

“It is an opportunity to hear about what’s going on with state government and how it affects your life,” Reflector editor Sherman Smith said.

He added that attendees also will be able to learn what goes on behind the scenes for journalists trying to cover the Kansas Legislature.

The Kansas Reflector is a non-profit publication with Kansas’ largest statehouse bureau. It also provides newspapers across the state with its articles free of charge.

Smith spent 16 years at the Topeka Capitol Journal before taking over as editor of the Reflector; Smith is the two-time Kansas Press Association Journalist of the year.

Reporter Tim Carpenter has covered Kansas for 35 years, working at the Reflector, the Topeka Capitol Journal, the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. Carpenter has regularly been honored by the KPA for producing the best overall pieces of investigative journalism in the state.

The event is co-hosted by the Bethel College Communication arts department and Harvey County Now. Managing Editor Adam Strunk will moderate the evening.

“Local publications in Kansas often don’t have the resources to have a reporter full time at the state house,” Strunk said. “The Reflector has helped fill that gap and aids local reporting by overseeing Kansas’ sometimes byzantine legislative process. In the past, there were times when the first we’d find out about a bill that would affect our area was when it became law.”

Harvey County Now Publisher Joey Young said he was happy to invite the journalists to Newton.

“I believe their reporters are the most informed people on what is happening at the statehouse and have a thumb on the pulse of what’s going on,” he said. “Unlike our legislators, they aren’t tied to the same committee each week and are able to cover what makes sense and the legislature as a whole.”

Smith said this year’s session has a wide variety of hot-button issues to track, including school vouchers, a wide variety of tax proposals, social issues, abortion rights, and how the state should allocate money for services.

“Those are the things that impact people’s daily lives,” he said.

The event is open to the public to attend.

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