The Kansas News Service
We’re the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of public media newsrooms delivering critical reporting of sound and substance. Our work is broadcast every day to virtually all of Kansas, and shared online and in newspapers in every corner of the state.
The Kansas News Service deploys journalists across the state to cover stories that truly matter in people’s lives. We work to make sense of the issues and events affecting the health and well-being of Kansans, their communities, and the state overall — with an emphasis on education, health and the gears of government.
The news service team is anchored in Topeka, but reporters also work from Wichita and Garden City. They travel wherever a story takes them.
The Kansas News Service gathers and produces stories in the same way, and to the same standards, as the biggest news organizations around. But as a nonprofit, we’re free from commercial pressures — demands for web clicks, for instance — that can pull other journalists away from important stories.
The Kansas News Service is directed by KCUR 89.3 in Kansas City, in partnership with KMUW in Wichita, Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence and High Plains Public Radio in Garden City. Other public and commercial stations carry our work. There’s virtually no spot in Kansas that can’t pull in a signal from a station with the rich content of the news service.
Our reporting is made possible by a group of funding organizations. They include the Kansas Health Foundation, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Forward Foundation. Additional support comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Celia Llopis-Jepsen – Reporter
Celia Llopis-Jepsen covers health for the Kansas News Service. She’s especially interested in what it’s like for consumers trying to find the right care, figure out what it will cost and afford it.
And she’s interested in preventive care and societal changes that can beat back disease and chronic conditions to help us live healthier, happier lives with fewer trips to the doctor in the first place.
Celia has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a master’s in bilingualism studies from Stockholm University in Sweden. She has won multiple awards for investigative and public service journalism.
Abigail Censky – Political Reporter
Abigail Censky has covered politics across the Midwest for NPR and its member stations. She’s interested in covering the growing pains as political outsiders becoming political insiders, and how policy impacts everyday life for Kansans. Her work aims to open the often-exclusive world of politics to anyone.
Before coming to Kansas, she was named a public radio rising star and one of the top statewide political reporters in Michigan by the Washington Post.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Southwest Studies from Colorado College.
Jim McLean – Political Correspondent
Jim McLean has covered Kansas politics and government for more than 40 years. The Washington Post recently recognized him as one of the top state-based political reporters in the nation. The first season of the My Fellow Kansas podcast that Jim hosted from 2018 to 2020 won a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for its exploration of the rightward shift in Kansas politics. The second season, which focused on the struggles of rural Kansas, received the Kansas Association of Broadcasters’ top prize for public affairs programming in 2020.
Jim began his journalistic career at a radio station in his hometown of Parsons, Kansas, before moving to Topeka in 1982 to cover the Statehouse for Kansas Public Radio. In the 1990s, he led the government reporting team at the Topeka Capital-Journal. Later, as vice president for public affairs at the Kansas Health Institute, Jim started a news service that provided in-depth coverage of health policy issues. That operation moved to KCUR in 2017 where it became the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.
Brian Grimmett – Reporter
Brian Grimmett is a two-time Regional Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist covering energy and environment stories across the state of Kansas. Brian loves to dive deep into complicated issues with the hope of making them easier to understand for general audiences, as with the award-winning hard news feature Westar Wants Kansans To Pay For Peak Power. What Could It Mean For Your Energy Bill?
Before coming to KMUW and the Kansas News Service, Brian worked at KUER 90.1-FM in Salt Lake City covering the Utah Legislature.
Brian earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University.
David Condos – Reporter
David Condos is the Kansas News Service’s western Kansas correspondent with High Plains Public Radio. Based in Hays, he covers issues that shape rural communities across the Great Plains, from agriculture to health care to immigration. The stories he’s reported from western Kansas have aired nationally on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now and have been published in newspapers nationwide.
Prior to joining KNS, Condos spent four years as a freelance producer, reporter and host in Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked with WPLN and a variety of local and national podcasts.
Suzanne Perez – Reporter
Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education across Kansas. She joined the Kansas News Service staff in 2021, after more than 30 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for The Wichita Eagle. Suzanne strives to tell stories about what’s happening in Kansas classrooms, and also how local or state policy decisions affect students, families and taxpayers. She grew up in North Carolina and has a degree in English from N.C. State University.
BLAISE MESA – CRIMINAL JUSTICE REPORTER
Blaise Mesa reports on criminal justice and social services for the Kansas News Service. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago where he was one of the most decorated journalists in the history of the college’s newspaper. Mesa served as co-editor-in-chief of the Columbia Chronicle and was that organization’s first executive producer. Before his time at the Kansas News Service, he spent a year reporting on local government for the Topeka Capital-Journal during the height of the pandemic.
Mesa’s reporting examines how the criminal justice and foster care system functions in Kansas while showing its impacts on everyday Kansans.
Stephen Koranda – News Editor
Stephen Koranda spent almost 15 years reporting on government and state legislatures in Mississippi and Kansas before becoming the Kansas News Service daily news editor in 2021. He was on the air in Kansas for a dozen years as the Kansas Public Radio Statehouse reporter.
Now he’s using that experience to help Kansas News Service reporters develop and refine their stories as they cover topics that impact the people of Kansas.
Stephen is a native of the Midwest with a degree from the University of Iowa.
Scott Canon – Managing Editor
Scott Canon spent most of his career as a newspaper reporter covering regional, national and international stories. He moved to public radio as the digital editor for the then-fledgling Kansas News Service in 2018. Now he’s the KNS managing editor, overseeing the work of reporters across the state.
Grace Lotz – Digital Producer
For over 9 years, Grace Lotz has worked to grow and cultivate audiences online for private companies and non-profit organizations. In her work for KCUR and the Kansas News Service, she helps Kansans get the news they need by delivering important stories (reported by exceptional journalists) via social media, email and in-person events. Her education in public and interpersonal communication from the University of Missouri-Kansas City guides her in her ultimate goal, to help the Kansas News Service gain the trust of its readers and listeners.