Kansas Reflector, Publisher Sherman Smith and Staff Honored at Annual Press Association Awards
Every day for eight months, I’ve enjoyed working for the Kansas Reflector. Being part of this nonprofit journalism effort, bringing high-quality news and opinion to the state I love, has been a source of joy — even when the news takes less-than-joyous diversions.
The news this morning was however particularly good.
The Kansas Press Association has released the results of its annual competition. Reflector editor Sherman Smith was named the state’s Reporter of the Year for the second year in a row. The Opinion Section of The Reflector, overseen by yours truly, won first place in the Division VII Editorial Pages category. Reflector’s overall website ranked second.
Freelancers Miranda Davis (story) and Lily O’Shea Becker (photos) won first place in the Best Story/Picture Combination category, for protests at the University of Kansas showing culture change over sexual violence on the campus. Becker won Best Online Video (News) for the video that accompanied this story.
“I am thrilled that the judges, for the second year in a row, have recognized Sherman Smith’s dedication to informing Kansans of the actions — and inactions — of their state government,” said States Newsroom national editor Mary Cornatzer. The reflector is part of its growing network of state government-focused sites. “His reporting last year on the state’s foster care system, specifically the death of a young child, brings changes to the system. Additionally, Sherman runs an extraordinarily talented newsroom that produces compelling reporting day in and day out. I congratulate Sherman and all the staff at Reflector.
That’s not all, however. My predecessor as opinion writer, CJ Janovy, won second place for editorial writing. And Reflector senior reporter Tim Carpenter won third place in the farm stories category for the Phillips County hog producer with a $134,000 judgment in a rare trespassing case.
Journalists sometimes joke about awards season. No one I know has gone into the field to win prizes, collect medals or adorn themselves with honor.
Yet we care deeply about the work we do and the readers we serve. You can watch in real time at the Reflector, where Sherman helped build a brave and trusted organization from the ground up. It’s a real success story, and one that continues to improve our state. Competitions and awards like those given out each year by the press association give us the opportunity to sit down and recognize what we have done and why.
Congratulations to the entire Reflector team and thank you for giving me the opportunity to take the tour.