Clay Wirestone serves as Kansas Reflector's opinion editor. His columns have been published in the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, along with newspapers and websites across the state and nation. He has written and edited for newsrooms in Kansas, New Hampshire, Florida and Pennsylvania. He has also fact checked politicians, researched for Larry the Cable Guy, and appeared in PolitiFact, Mental Floss, and cnn.com. Before joining the Reflector in summer 2021, Clay spent four years at the nonprofit Kansas Action for Children as communications director. Beyond the written word, he has drawn cartoons, hosted podcasts, designed graphics and moderated debates. Clay graduated from the University of Kansas and lives in Lawrence with his husband and son.
I knew Kansas officials would overstep after Marion raid. I didn’t expect it to be in Lawrence.
By: Clay Wirestone - September 20, 2023
Ding ding ding! We have a winner for the not-at-all-coveted prize of “first Kansas officials to embarrass our state by attacking the free press after the raid on the Marion County Record.” You knew this award was coming. I knew this award was coming. News outlets try to uncover information powerful people want kept secret. […]
As our country confronts serious threats, some Kansans want to laugh them off
By: Clay Wirestone - September 18, 2023
As long as news stories and columns have appeared online with a way for readers to make their reactions known, one piece of advice to authors persists. Don’t read the comments. Yet I can’t help but do so when it comes to my work, simply because I’m curious to know what people think. My recent […]
Graying politicians across Kansas, U.S. hoard power. A volatile world warrants youthful leadership.
By: Clay Wirestone - September 15, 2023
This article is part of U.S. Democracy Day, a nationwide collaborative on Sept. 15, the International Day of Democracy, in which news organizations cover how democracy works and the threats it faces. To learn more, visit usdemocracyday.org. All of a sudden, cracks have spread across the formerly invulnerable wall of U.S. gerontocracy. In case you […]
Eisenhower defeated authoritarians in Europe. His foundation now covers for one in the U.S.
By: Clay Wirestone - September 11, 2023
Kansas’ own Dwight D. Eisenhower served as supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II and defeated a rising tide of fascism and authoritarianism. As a popular two-term president, he governed as a pragmatic conservative — sustaining prosperity, supporting integration and supporting international alliances. In every way, he lived and governed as […]
Transparency demands that Marion County attorney explain his role in ‘chilling’ newspaper raid
By: Clay Wirestone - September 7, 2023
We know three things for certain about the probable cause affidavits behind the Aug. 11 raid on the Marion County Record newspaper. One, we know the affidavits supporting search warrants were written by Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody. He signed them. Two, we know the affidavits supporting search warrants were approved by Magistrate Judge Laura […]
What we can learn about Kansas civic engagement from assembling cheap furniture at home
By: Clay Wirestone - September 5, 2023
Somehow, and for reasons unclear to me, I’ve become the person in our family responsible for building furniture. I assure you, this was not my intent. Back in high school, I constructed a serviceable breadbox in shop class. That was the extent of my professed talents in the area, and as I set out on […]
Lawsuit against police chief just the latest shoe to drop in Marion newspaper raid case
By: Clay Wirestone - August 31, 2023
Shhhh. Did you hear that noise? Another shoe dropped in the ongoing drama surrounding the police raid on the Marion County Record. Reporter Deb Gruver has sued police Chief Gideon Cody. According to Kansas Reflector editor Sherman Smith’s story: “A lawsuit Gruver filed Wednesday in federal court that says Cody had no legal basis for […]
Wrapped in brutal Kansas heat, Trump’s durability and COVID’s return can turn any stomach
By: Clay Wirestone - August 30, 2023
I don’t know if the Earth has wobbled on its axis or Mount Oread shifted a couple of inches, but I’m feeling a smidgen off these days. Perhaps it was the week of 100-plus degree temperatures. Kansans broiled underneath a “heat dome” that made most outdoor activities unthinkable unless you own some sort of refrigerated […]
Audiences challenge and encourage us at town halls across Kansas. Thanks for showing up.
By: Clay Wirestone - August 25, 2023
Kansas Reflector staffers headed back out on the road this month. We’ve made stops in Salina, Lawrence and Emporia, talking to roughly 300 of our fellow Kansans. Overall, these road trips are a warm and cheery reminder of what we’re doing and why. We care about bringing deeply reported fact and opinion to the widest […]
Joan Meyer, Marion newspaper owner, gave cops a piece of her mind. Honor her righteous indignation.
By: Clay Wirestone - August 23, 2023
Joan Meyer, the 98-year-old co-owner of the Marion County Record, finally had her say Monday. Boy, did we get a talking-to. Meyer’s previous silence was sadly excusable. She died of cardiac arrest Aug. 12, a day after unconstitutional police raids on her home and beloved newspaper. But the whole world heard her loud and clear […]
Affidavits targeting Marion County Record read like bad jokes at expense of the First Amendment
By: Clay Wirestone - August 21, 2023
Police Chief Gideon Cody promised explosive revelations after his flabbergasting raid on the Marion County Record. “As much as I would like to give everyone details on a criminal investigation I cannot,” he thundered on the department’s Facebook page. “I believe when the rest of the story is available to the public, the judicial system […]
Kansas newspaper raid draws plenty of attention, but journalists defy threats across U.S.
By: Clay Wirestone - August 20, 2023
After Kansas Reflector reported on the ignominious and unconstitutional raid of the Marion County Record on Aug. 11, news outlets and commentators from across Kansas and the nation followed suit throughout the weekend. The voices of those who value a free press and free expression were overwhelming in their force and intensity. Eight days later, […]