TOPEKA — Sherman Smith, editor in chief of the Kansas Reflector, is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year.
Smith is among four employees who founded the Kansas Reflector in July 2020. It is supported through its parent organization, States Newsroom, which has news outlets in 22 state capitals. Smith will be honored by KPA at a virtual ceremony in June.
“Sherman Smith is a brilliant and relentless journalist and we’re proud that he leads the team at the Kansas Reflector. I’m happy the Kansas Press Association is honoring the work he does for his community every day,” said Chris Fitzsimon, director and publisher of States Newsroom.
The award was based on news articles Smith published in 2020, including ones that exposed a foster care contractor’s financial misconduct, raised questions about the state’s COVID-19 reporting policy and revealed a Topeka police officer’s “concerning” treatment of a child with autism.
The KPA also recognized Smith with a second place award in the investigative story category for reporting on financial mismanagement at Saint Francis Ministries in Salina. He was a second-place finisher in the government news category for detailing how the state excluded some businesses from COVID-19 cluster reports.
KPA also honored opinion editor C.J. Janovy with a first-place award in the Seniors Story category for a column on people “involuntarily discharged” from nursing homes in Kansas. Reflector columnist Max McCoy was second place in column writing. Reflector reporter Noah Taborda received recognition for a third place in the education story category for reporting on the Deaf community’s push for access to information and education during the pandemic.