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.


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.


Beacon Media

Hilary Becker

HILARY BECKER is the director of product 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 nearly 10 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. 


Scott Canon

SCOTT CANON is the editor-in-chief of The Kansas City Beacon and The Wichita Beacon. Previously, he was managing editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of NPR affiliates. He was also a reporter and editor at the Kansas City Star for several years, covering local, regional and international stories.


Naomi O'Donnell

NAOMI O’DONNELL is The Beacon’s director of audience. Naomi brings extensive experiences in events, marketing and user engagement with an emphasis on community impact. Prior to joining The Beacon, Naomi managed mental health awareness campaigns alongside large-scale corporate communications and attendee experiences at Overflow, LLC. She holds an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and combines a creative approach with data-driven efforts to engage audiences. Outside of the office, you’ll find Naomi slowly restoring her historic Volker bungalow.


BILL SUNDAHL is vice president of revenue operations 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 as development director. The last 12 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.