Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the editor in chief of Kansas Reflector. He writes about things that powerful people don't want you to know. A two-time Kansas Press Association journalist of the year, his award-winning reporting includes stories about education, technology, foster care, voting, COVID-19, sex abuse, and access to reproductive health care. Before founding Kansas Reflector in 2020, he spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He graduated from Emporia State University in 2004, back when the school still valued English and journalism. He was raised in the country at the end of a dead end road in Lyon County.

House Speaker Dan Hawkins appears April 27, 2023, on the House floor with an image of Corky — the Emporia State University mascot.

Emporia State University forges new identity with $9M earmark from Kansas Legislature

By: - September 12, 2023

TOPEKA — Emporia State University’s new structure, underwritten by a $9 million earmark in the state budget, comes with a new marketing slogan and a new explanation for last year’s dramatic upheaval. Legislative leaders and university administrators describe the so-called “ESU model,” which involved the firing of tenured faculty members under the guise of a […]

A new lawsuit says Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody, top left, spearheaded the Aug. 11 raid of the Marion County Record in retaliation against the journalists who worked there. Reporter Deb Gruver's desk appears at the bottom right

Kansas reporter sues Marion police chief, alleging retaliation in newsroom raid

By: - August 30, 2023

TOPEKA — Police Chief Gideon Cody arrived at the Marion County Record and handed a copy of a search warrant to Deb Gruver, the veteran reporter who had questioned him about alleged misconduct at his previous job. As Gruver read the search warrant, she told Cody she needed to call her publisher and editor, Eric […]

Marion County Record reporter Phyllis Zorn and Sheriff Jeff Soyez stand outside the evidence room where an undersheriff signs over newspaper property to a forensic expert.

Sheriff’s office agrees to destroy evidence obtained from raid on Kansas newspaper

By: - August 24, 2023

TOPEKA — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office agreed Thursday to destroy digital files it copied from computers seized during the raid on the Marion County Record. Bernie Rhodes, an attorney for the newspaper, raised concerns about whether law enforcement had altered a list of evidence from the raid and illegally held onto a previously undisclosed […]

A supporter with a box of donuts early Aug. 16, 2023, turns away from the locked door of the Marion County Record. The woman, who declined to give her name, returned later and successfully delivered the donuts in a show of support for the paper.

After Kansas newspaper raid, lawmaker proposes taking warrant power away from magistrates

By: - August 22, 2023

TOPEKA — House Minority Leader Vic Miller said Tuesday he would introduce legislation to take away a magistrate’s power to authorize a search warrant, addressing one problematic aspect of the circumstances surrounding the raid on the Marion County Record. Miller, a Topeka Democrat, said he hopes the proposal will launch a conversation that could expand […]

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Melissa Standridge announces at an Aug. 22, 2023, conference in Topeka that a child welfare summit will take place next year.

Kansas Supreme Court plans child welfare summit to forge ‘better paths forward’

By: - August 22, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas Supreme Court Justice Melissa Standridge on Tuesday announced plans for a two-day summit next year to brainstorm innovative solutions for problems surrounding child welfare in Kansas. Standridge said the summit would be a collaboration among the three branches of government, the legal community, child welfare partners and experts, and families and children […]

Marion County Record publisher Eric Meyer gestures during an Aug. 16, 2023, news conference at the newspaper office

‘Completely unjustified’: Affidavits point to abuse of power in raid on Kansas newspaper

By: - August 20, 2023

TOPEKA — Affidavits signed by a police chief and magistrate to warrant the raid on the Marion County Record were supposed to provide evidence that a reporter committed a crime. Instead, they serve as evidence that the local officials abused their power. Police Chief Gideon Cody received approval from Magistrate Judge Laura Viar to conduct […]

Marion County Record reporter Phyllis Zorn and Sheriff Jeff Soyez stand outside the evidence room where an undersheriff signs over newspaper property to a forensic expert.

Kobach: KBI looking into possible data breach in Kansas newspaper case

By: and - August 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach says state authorities reviewing alleged crimes associated with the raid of a Marion newspaper are interested in whether someone breached the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System. Police raided the Marion County Record last week after the newspaper received information from a confidential source about the criminal history of […]

Exterior view of Topeka Correctional Facility

Kansas prisoners injured in bus crash on way to Russell Stover job

By: and - August 17, 2023

TOPEKA — Eight residents of the women’s prison in Topeka were injured early Thursday when a bus transporting them from the Russell Stover factory in Iola crashed into a semi-truck hauling dirt. A spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol said the accident happened when the bus failed to stop at a stop sign, striking the […]

Marion County Record publisher Eric Meyer holds a copy of the Wednesday paper, featuring the headline "SEIZED ... but not silence," during a news conference at the newspaper office.

Marion County Record publishes in defiance of police raid — and gets seized property back

By: - August 16, 2023

MARION — Marion County Record staff worked through the night to publish the paper’s weekly edition as scheduled Wednesday, days after police raided the newsroom and confiscated computers, cellphones and other items. A single word screamed across the top of the paper in 200-point bold type — “SEIZED” — followed by a defiant statement: “… […]

Marion County Record

Police defend raid on Kansas newspaper amid backlash over ‘brazen violation of press freedom’

By: - August 12, 2023

TOPEKA — Marion police on Saturday defended their unprecedented raid on a newspaper office and the publisher’s home by pointing to a loophole in federal law that protects journalists from searches and seizures. Law enforcement raided the Marion County Record on Friday, seizing computers and reporters’ personal cellphones as part of an investigation into alleged […]

Eric Meyer, publisher of the Marion County Record, answers questions in his newspaper office Friday after police seized computers, servers, cellphones and other items.

Police stage ‘chilling’ raid on Marion County newspaper, seizing computers, records and cellphones

By: , , and - August 11, 2023

MARION — In an unprecedented raid Friday, local law enforcement seized computers, cellphones and reporting materials from the Marion County Record office, the newspaper’s reporters, and the publisher’s home. Eric Meyer, owner and publisher of the newspaper, said police were motivated by a confidential source who leaked sensitive documents to the newspaper, and the message […]

La Manda Broyles, executive director of the Topeka Rescue Mission, reviews her complaints with Kansas Reflector reporting during an Aug. 3, 2023, meeting at the rescue mission's Children's Palace

Topeka Rescue Mission leaders credit fired city manager with advancing homeless talks

By: - August 8, 2023

Current and former leaders of the Topeka Rescue Mission credit Stephen Wade with advancing community-wide discussion about how to serve a growing unsheltered population. And they blame a councilwoman for making their relationship with Wade, the former Topeka city manager, a flashpoint for controversy. Wade helped bring dozens of organizations together for a homeless summit […]