The Beacon’s staff handle editorial content, audience development and day-to-day newsroom operations. The editorial independence of our editors and reporters is critical to the mission of The Beacon. The standards of editorial independence 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.


Maria Benevento

MARIA BENEVENTO is The Kansas City Beacon’s education reporter. Previously, she reported on Missouri state government with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, attended graduate school at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and was an editorial intern at the National Catholic Reporter in Kansas City. Maria is a Report for America corps member.


GARY ENRIQUE BRADLEY-LOPEZ is The Kansas City Beacon’s Community Engagement Bureau manager. Previously, Gary worked as a Director of Communications and Outreach as well as a Community Organizer for two local non-profits that serve the greater Kansas City region. Gary earned a Master of Professional Studies in organizational leadership from Fort Hays State University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education in organizational leadership and development.  In his free time, he enjoys reading, playwriting and making people laugh through stand-up comedy or just being around.


Meg Cunningham

MEG CUNNINGHAM is The Kansas City Beacon’s Missouri Statehouse reporter. Previously, Meg worked as a national politics reporter for ABC News in Washington, D.C., where she covered campaigns and elections. Meg is a Kansas City native and graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking and yoga.


Mili Mansaray

MILI MANSARAY is the housing and labor reporter at The Kansas City Beacon. Mili previously worked with The Beacon as a reporting intern after graduating from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in digital journalism, Africana studies and Spanish. Since then, Mili has freelanced with The Beacon and Apartment Therapy — covering topics from interior design to housing insecurity, voter rights and everything in between. She is of Sierra Leonean heritage and originally from Columbia, South Carolina. In her free time, Mili enjoys traveling, movies, reading, music and screenwriting.


Josh Merchant

JOSH MERCHANT is The Kansas City Beacon’s local government reporter. After graduating from Seattle University, Josh attended Columbia Journalism School, earning a master’s degree in investigative journalism. Originally from Colorado, Josh has contributed reporting to The Seattle Spectator, The South Seattle Emerald and THE CITY in New York. They were a Fall 2021 intern at The Beacon.


MIRANDA MOORE covers state government for The 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.


Beacon Media

Hilary Becker

HILARY BECKER is the audience and product manager 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. 


JENNIFER HACK WOLF is the interim publisher of The Beacon, leading editorial, audience and product strategy for the two newsrooms in Kansas City and Wichita. Before that role, she served as audience director. Previously, Wolf launched a design-thinking consultancy, Below the Fold, helping nonprofits across the region solve critical problems. A Kansas City native, she spent more than 14 years at The Kansas City Star, first as a photographer and later as photo editor and editor of Ink Magazine. A Kansas City native and graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, she and her husband live in a old fire station and enjoy exploring the Flint Hills of Kansas. 


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.



Alexis Allison ✏️

Marlee Baldridge ✏️

Zach Bauman 📸

Sophia Belshe🌟

Marquita Brown ✍️

Celisa Calacal ✏️

Brittany Callan ✏️

Chase Castor 📸

Jeremy Fuzy ✍️

Anna Funk ✏️

Cynthia Gregorian ✏️

Roxie Hammill ✏️

Jamie Hobbs ✏️

Madison Hopkins ✏️

Joseph Jungermann🌟

Joe Klopus ✍️

Anne Kniggendorf ✏️

Alexis Lanza🌟

Jerry LaMartina✏️

Annie T.H. Le 🌟

Zachary Linhares 📸

Kathy Lu ✍️

Mili Mansaray🌟 ✏️

Andrew Marso ✏️

Jacob Moscovitch 📸

Sarah Nessel ✍️

Michael Pearce ✏️

Danielle Randle 📸

Hannah Ritchie ✍️

Tiffany Scantlebury 🎨

Barb Shelly ✍️✏️

Emily Standlee 🌟

Sidney Steele ✏️

Dominick Williams 📸

Emily Wolf ✏️


✏️ Reporter

✍️ Editor

📸 Photographer

🎨 Marketing/Design

🌟 Intern

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.