Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone

Clay Wirestone serves as Kansas Reflector's opinion editor. His Reflector columns have been published in the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, along with newspapers and website across the state and nation. He has written columns and edited reporting 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 a host of other publications. 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.

A journalist's tools of the trade

A singular New Hampshire editor inspired this Kansas journalist — and so many others, too

By: - April 22, 2023

Mike Pride changed my life. The legendary editor of New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor newspaper, Mike hired me back in 2005, at a particularly challenging time in my career. I had spent an unfulfilling few years as a copy editor at big newspapers in central Florida and wanted to return to a smaller newsroom, one where […]


Entire Kansas Reflector staff recognized in annual press association awards

By: - April 19, 2023

This year’s Kansas Press Association awards carried a special distinction for Kansas Reflector staff, although you might have to read through the list of placements a couple of times to notice it. Every member of our staff won something. Every one. Several more folks who are regular contributors won too. As someone who came to […]


New Amelia Earhart museum gleams with the energy, innovation and bravery of its Kansas-born subject

By: - April 13, 2023

The sparkling new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum at Atchison’s airport doesn’t just pay tribute to its namesake’s life and career. It represents a sequence of events so unlikely and fortuitous that you couldn’t have invented them. From the sole surviving Lockheed Electra 10-E plane — the same kind that went missing in Earhart’s attempt to […]


Statehouse scraps: Kansas session shuts down for spring break with ridiculous all-night marathon

By: - April 10, 2023

Happy Monday to you all, and happy end to the regular session of the Kansas Legislature. Oh, members will be back, and sooner than you might expect. The so-called veto session begins April 26, and the usual crew of legislators, lobbyists and journalists will once again flood into Topeka. Nevertheless, let’s all relish the two […]


Kansas anti-trans sports law opens door for genital inspections of kids. That’s the simple truth.

By: - April 9, 2023

The word went out moments after the Kansas Legislature barred transgender girls and women from playing school athletics: State legislators had authorized genital exams of children. Parents spoke out. Social media buzzed. The legislative leaders who had made this piece of hateful legislation a priority for years scurried to deny that was the case. And […]


With Kansas Legislature’s override vote, anti-trans bill becomes law. Here are five takeaways.

By: - April 6, 2023

As alternately feared, expected or ardently desired, a bill banning transgender girls and women from Kansas school sports became law Wednesday. You can write about this topic from a huge number of directions, and I’ve tried several in recent columns. Kansas Reflector readers know where I stand. America extends freedom, justice and equality to everybody, and that […]


Exuberant protesters challenge malevolent Kansas legislators. Whose side are you on?

By: - April 4, 2023

The children have spoken. If Kansas legislators care about keeping their seats and consciences, they had better listen. The stakes could not be simpler or more stark. Young transgender people, supported by their friends and families, have demanded the right to live as their authentic selves. You might not understand. You might not agree. But […]

Sen. Cindy Holscher speaks at a March news conference.

Keeping the flame of hope alight in Kansas: Courageous survivors show how it’s done

By: - April 2, 2023

I’ve had three conversations in the past week with three different Kansans, all about the same question. How, they wondered, can we keep the flickering flame of hope alive in a state that seems determined to extinguish it? Each one of us has to answer that question separately. But I have found that hope recently […]


Statehouse scraps: Disability rights advocates disarm bill, anti-trans deadline, more ghost towns

By: - April 1, 2023

Happy April 1, friends! In tribute to this day of fibs and falsehoods, Twitter CEO and tech-world mastermind Elon Musk has decreed that verified accounts will lose their blue badges. Unless they pay him, of course. In case anyone wondered, Kansas Reflector has no plans to pay for verified status or to cover such payments […]

Senate President Ty Masterson, right, and House Speaker Dan Hawkins outline the Republican legislative agenda on Jan. 10, 2023

Kansas Legislature stumbles down the path of maximum dysfunction. Leaders like it that way.

By: - March 30, 2023

The Kansas Legislature does not have to operate this way. Republican leaders have chosen this path. Specifically, Speaker of the House Dan Hawkins of Wichita and Senate President Ty Masterson of Andover, both Republicans, have decided they can serve Kansans best by gutting bills and making them impossible to track, holding late-night hearings that put […]


Five things we’ve learned about Kansans from taking Kansas Reflector on the road

By: - March 28, 2023

Council Grove. Hutchinson. Valley Falls. Manhattan. Over the past couple of months, Kansas Reflector staff have fanned out across the state of Kansas to talk about what we do and why to a variety of audiences. This Thursday, we will descend on Newton for out latest stop (and I hear you can still get a […]


Ruined beauty of Kansas: Ghost towns and buildings splinter under weight of time

By: - March 26, 2023

As a week of spring break wound down, my son told me that he wanted to explore an abandoned place. Like most ideas generated by his 11-year-old noggin, this one likely came from YouTube. The video sharing site serves up videos aplenty of urban exploration in places like Detroit. Twenty something vloggers excitedly chatter as […]