Kansas news media

‘Kansas Reporter’ launched

This week the Kansas Policy Institute announced the launch of KansasReporter, a news service covering Kansas government. Combined with some other relatively new sources of news, analysis, and commentary -- Kansas Liberty, Kansas Watchdog, State of the State, Kansas and a few older sources like Kansas Meadowlark and Voice For Liberty in Wichita -- Kansans should be better-equipped to know what's going on in our state, and to become more involved in our state and local governments. Following is its press release. KansasReporter launches online news service Topeka, Kan., Dec. 9 - KansasReporter is pleased to announce the December 9…
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Fake stimulus exposed by Watchdog group

There's a new dog in town, and doing a great job already. In New Mexico, the New Mexico Watchdog reported the story More Than 4,800 New Jobs Created in New Mexico in Less than a Month from Stimulus, According to Obama Administration Data, which is apparently the first news story to notice the glaring errors -- some say fraud -- in stimulus data provided by the government website Recovery.gov. The national Watchdog site then reported $6.4 Billion Stimulus Goes to Phantom Districts. Watchdog.org is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. There are state-level watchdogs in…
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In Winfield, citizens don’t agree with their opinion leaders

On Wednesday the Winfield Daily Courier printed an editorial titled ‘Tea party’ bunch is going to extreme. While criticizing a move made by some Kansas legislators, it uses loaded language like "in full Glenn Beck mode," "they look silly," "appealing to prejudice rather than reason," and "should just laugh at the 'tea party' jesters." The anonymous author of this piece -- probably Dave Seaton, identified in the newspaper's website as "responsible for the Courier's editorial content" -- seems to be more than a bit out of touch with readers, at least those who have left comments to the editorial. One…
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‘State of the State Kansas’ covers state with video

Just a few weeks ago Kansas gained a new news-oriented website. State of the State Kansas is different from most news sites, as it focuses on providing long-format video coverage of issues and candidates. Rebecca Zepick founded State of the State Kansas. I visited with her last week and learned about the site and its goals. What inspired you to start the State of the State Kansas website? Zepick said that while working on John McCain's presidential campaign, she handled booking campaign spokespeople -- and even McCain and his wife -- with statewide media in Iowa and other states. She…
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In Anaheim, I am the press

In Kansas, alternative media outlets like this blog can't get the same level of access that traditional media has in the Kansas statehouse. My post Kansas alternative media shut out of legislative access gives details. This week I in was in Anaheim, California on a fact-finding trip. As part of this, I asked to meet with a planner for the City of Anaheim. Shortly after we started our meeting, he asked to leave the room for a moment. When he came back, a media relations person for the city was with him, and stayed with us during our meeting. This…
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Kansas alternative media discussed on Kansas Week

Bob Weeks discusses the difficulty of alternative media obtaining press credentials at the Kansas Legislature. From the KPTS public affairs television program Kansas Week on June 26, 2009. Tim Brown is the host. Randy Brown, Senior Fellow in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University also appears. Read the story behind this by clicking on Kansas alternative media shut out of legislative access.
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Flint Hills Center adds investigative reporter

The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy in Wichita announces the hiring of an investigative reporter. The press release is below. As newspapers, magazines, and television face tough economic times, it's thought that one model that might emerge is journalism sponsored by non-profit institutions such as the Flint Hills Center. I believe that journalism is a vitally important institution in our country. It's a necessary function in any democracy. With mounting layoffs at newspapers, many papers simply don't have the manpower to produce the in-depth investigative reporting that keeps government, especially, in check. Wichitans and Kansans should welcome this innovative…
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Articles of Interest

Stimulus, invisible hand, Kansas wind. Stimulus Delusions (T. Norman Van Cott at the Foundation for Economic Education) More argument that the economic stimulus is harmful to the future of our economy. "Does it matter whether the dollars come from taxes, government borrowing, or the government’s printing press?" No, of course it doesn't. Stinson Morrison forms stimulus practice (Wichita Business Journal) A law firm with a Wichita office (Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP) establishes a "Stimulus Strike Force." No, it's not an effort to save the taxpayers from having to pay for a harmful, pork-laden spending program that will permanently expand the…
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Articles of Interest

Journalism, crime alerts, war on drugs, minimum wage, stimulus and education The State of the Fourth Estate (Jordan Ballor at the Acton Institute) What will happen to journalism in the digital age? The article describes its importance to a free society, with reflection from a Christian view. Alert system tells you when a crime occurs (Stan Finger in the Wichita Eagle) Receive email or text messages alerts concerning crime in your area by signing up at www.citizenobserver.com. Maybe criminals will start using Twitter to tweet about their escapes, making it easier for police to capture them. While email and text…
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Wichita Eagle’s GWEDC board membership in perspective

What is the role in public affairs of a newspaper like the Wichita Eagle? Can it wear more than one hat -- making news as well as covering it? This is not a hypothetical question. Consider that Pam Siddall, president and publisher of the Wichita Eagle is a member of the steering council of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, an important, partially tax-funded board, that plays a significant role in Wichita. Should this make any difference to you? When the Eagle's editorial board grants the president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition space on its pages, should readers…
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Have Kansas tax cuts caused our budget problem?

The budget problem in Kansas is the result of "irresponsible tax cutting," according to Steve Rose, publisher of the Johnson County Sun. He really wrote that. Rose's piece We've cut our way into this crisis mentions by name many of the taxes that we've reduced in Kansas. He really believes these cuts are the source of the problem. He says "we knocked ourselves for a loop by cutting and cutting and cutting taxes over the past 15 years. We have had a wild tax-cutting orgy." Rose cites a study that sums the costs of all the Kansas tax cuts since…
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Legal Notices in Kansas Newspapers

Kansas Liberty reports on Senate Bill 164, which would allow publication of legal notices on the Internet only. Presently these notices must be published in a newspaper. The measure is viewed as a way to save money. The Kansas Liberty story (Local governments take aim at small-town newspapers) reports that the downside is that many small newspapers rely on the revenue from printing legal notices, and may suffer if this revenue is lost. We already have one such example. Just a few months ago Sedgwick County switched from the Derby Reporter to the Wichita Eagle, and the Derby paper has…
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KU Study an Embarrassment to Sebelius

Writing in National Review, Denis Boyles says: In the first study to measure the result of pouring all that money on the noggins of schoolkids, the University of Kansas's Center for Applied Economics has released a study poetically entitled, "The Relationship between School Funding and Student Achievement in Kansas Public Schools." The verdict? So far, the funding has produced "little evidence of improving student outcomes as measured by test scores."
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What is the Future of News Distribution?

This week I attended an open house event held by the Wichita Eagle. As part of the event, I took a quick tour of their plant. This photo shows rolls of newsprint in the basement of the building, waiting to be turned into newspapers. Ink distribution systems are in the background. How long will this go on, news being delivered on paper? A few weeks ago I attended a talk given by Davis Merritt, former editor of the Eagle (see Newspapers are Dying; Journalism We Hope Is Not). He said that in five years, newspapers won't be using paper anymore.…
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Why the Kansas Senate Leadership is Still There

When Kansans wonder why the leadership of the Kansas Senate is so often out of step with the rest of Kansas, look south of Wichita for the answer. As a Winfield Courier article reports, Winfield Democrat Greta Goodwin is often the vote that keeps the present moderate Republican senate leadership in office. For some reason, voters in their districts keep re-electing Senate Vice President and Judiciary Committee Chair John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton to office. About the best we can hope for this year is that they're not re-elected to their leadership positions. This is especially…
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“Trash The Eagle” Website spotted

I recently noticed the new website Trash The Eagle. It holds, as you might expect, some criticism of the Wichita Eagle, our state's largest newspaper. The site is run anonymously, although with a little sleuthing, it isn't hard to find out who is behind this site.
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At Least We’re Not Johnson County

Commentary from Kansas Liberty about trouble at the Kansas City Star and the miserable Johnson County Sun. All the gas, but none of the warmth. What does the Kansas City Star have in common with the Johnson County Sun? Right! They're both named, appropriately, after masses of incandescent gasses. Also, they hate conservatives. The Star is owned by McClatchy, whose share price is now loose change, down a nickel in late trading. One day soon, the Star will implode, its presses will stop and it will flicker on as a dim website. The Sun, on the other hand, was never…
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Earthjustice in Kansas: The Press Release

I've recently learned that the radical environmentalist group Earthjustice played a role in the rejection of a coal-fired power plant in Kansas. I didn't learn that from any Kansas news source, but only from Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and only then long after the permit for the plant was denied. See Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius at Earthjustice. Now I see Earthjustice's press release Kansas Rejects Massive Sunflower Coal-Fired Power Plant. What did Earthjustice do in Kansas, and how did they do it? These are things Kansans need to know. To that end, I've filed a request under the Kansas Open…
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Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius at Earthjustice

On June 26, 2008, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius spoke at an event hosted by Earthjustice (motto: "Because the earth needs a good lawyer"). By the next day, Earthjustice already had a self-congratulatory professionally-produced video available at Earthjustice & Kansas Governor Talk Clean Energy. Evidently, Earthjustice, previously known as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, was involved in the events leading up to the denial of the permit for Sunflower Electric Power Corporation's Holcomb Station coal-fired electricity generating plant expansion. Now, I read the Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital-Journal, and Lawrence Journal-World regularly, and until last week, I had never heard mention…
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