Sean Sandefur


A photographer by trade, Sean got his feet wet in broadcast news as an intern at St. Louis Public Radio. It is here, he said, that he caught "the NPR bug."

Upon graduating from Webster University, Sean went on to a full-time internship at KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn. Wanting to learn video production, Sean ended up covering massive flood damage as a multimedia journalist.

In order to fully immerse himself in all forms of media, Sean then took a reporter position at a community newspaper in Monticello, Ind., The Herald Journal.

Although he gained valuable experience, Sean was missing his Marantz and microphone.

He joined KMUW in January of 2014, and strives to provide solid reporting of all story types to his fellow Wichitans.

Outside of work, Sean is an avid sports fan. Partial to his hometown teams in St. Louis, he is also rapidly becoming a Shockers fan.

Sean also loves to listen to and play music, as well as cook scrumptious food.


5:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Stimulating Young Minds: Early Learning Centers Reach Wichita's Underserved

A preschooler at TOP Early Learning Center South uses an eyedropper to mix water colors during class.
Sean Sandefur

The Opportunity Project, or TOP Early Learning Centers, are making a significant impact on preschool education in Wichita.  Philanthropist Barry Downing created the initiative in 2003. Its mission is to use education to lift children out of poverty.  Graduates of TOP have elevated test scores, better social skills and are less likely to be absent from school.  There are hundreds of children on  TOP's waiting list.

An Education Steeped In Exploration

Cornelia Stevens is Executive Director of TOP Early Learning Centers.

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5:00 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Paul Davis Cites High Property Taxes In Wichita Visit

Democrat Paul Davis speaks with diners at Connie's Mexican Grill in Wichita. Davis is running against Gov. Sam Brownback in November's gubernatorial election
Sean Sandefur

Democrat Paul Davis, currently a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, is running against Gov. Sam Brownback in the upcoming November elections, Davis visited Wichita on Monday, KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…


Gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis met with supporters at a Mexican restaurant in Wichita on Monday evening. The event was nondescript. On Davis’ mind were the same issues that are on many Kansan minds: education, the economy and rising taxes - property taxes in particular. 

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5:30 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Dangerous Chemical Invades West Wichita Drinking Water

A small portion of a map provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It illustrates the plume of tetrachloroethylene that sits underneath many homes in west Wichita.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Residents of a West Wichita neighborhood learned in March that their private water wells had been contaminated with a chemical likely to cause major health defects. They’ve also learned that the contamination could be decades old.

Ron Barnhart owns a well groomed, one story home in west Wichita.

“We came here in ’64,” he says. “This was my parent’s house. I would always ask my dad through those years, you know, ‘Dad, what’s filtering that water coming from the ground?’ He had a filter down, but it wasn’t sufficient to put up with this.”

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7:00 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Wichita's Union Station Celebrates Centennial With New Ownership, New Future

A photograph of Wichita's Union Station from the year of its dedication, 1914
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum

Last week, Wichita’s Union Station quietly turned 100 years old. The once bustling stalwart of downtown has been sitting empty since 2007. But now the building has a new owner and there are hopes of reviving the building to the centerpiece it once was.

A Look Back

People once entered Union Station to board trains destined for St. Louis, Chicago and even Los Angeles. The Frisco, Santa Fe and Rock Island provided a luxurious, long-winding glimpse of the American landscape.

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1:15 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Textron Aviation To Cut 575 Jobs In Kansas

A Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft. Beechcraft was acquired by Textron Aviation in March for $1.4 billion.
Credit D. Miller / Flickr / Creative Commons

A total of 750 employees of the newly created Textron Aviation were told on Wednesday morning that they are to be laid off. The announcement came in the form of letters sent to employees. The bulk of the cuts—575—will be to salaried and hourly employees currently working in Wichita and Independence, Kan. The layoffs will take place over the next 60 days.

This decision was not unexpected – after Textron Inc. acquired Beechcraft for $1.4 billion last month, the company formed Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna. Textron Aviation is now consolidating the two companies.

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8:09 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

U.S. District Court Ruling Allows States To Require Proof Of Citizenship On Federal Voting Forms

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ruled that federal voter registration forms may be be modified to reflect the state forms.
Credit Celeste Lindell, flickr Creative Commons

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ruled Wednesday afternoon that federal voter registration forms in both Kansas and Arizona will be modified to reflect the state forms.

Judge Melgren answered one key question with today’s decision: that it’s ultimately a state’s right to determine what is on their federal voter registration forms, and not that of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

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9:57 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Brownback Continues Campaign For All-Day Kindergarten At Vermillion Elementary In Maize, KS

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback speaks before a crowd inside the Vermillion Elementary School gym. Brownback stopped at the school to spread his message that state-funded all-day kindergarten is needed across the state.
Credit Sean Sandefur

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is currently on a tour of kindergarten facilities across the state. Tuesday afternoon he made his way to Vermillion Elementary in Maize.

Before speaking before a crowd at the school, Brownback visited with kindergarteners during their lessons. The stopover in Maize is part of his campaign to provide state funding for all-day kindergarten throughout Kansas. The cost of the plan is estimated to be an additional $16 million a year for the next five years.

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11:21 am
Tue February 25, 2014

WSU President John Bardo Proposes 'Innovation Campus'


Wichita State President John Bardo gave an outlook of the coming 2013-2014 school year on Monday afternoon. His presentation included new construction planned for the campus.

According to Bardo, a big part of the future of the university is what they are calling "Innovation Campus." This will give an opportunity to outside companies to build infrastructure on school grounds - bringing with them new ideas, technology, jobs and internships.

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10:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Common Core Standards – Helpful or a Hindrance?

Stanley Elementary teacher Cathy Granell says Common Core Standards are benefiting her students.
Credit Sean Sandefur

The Kansas Legislature is scheduled to hear a bill today (Feb. 19, 2014) that seeks to repeal Common Core academic standards throughout the state. The standards have become quite a divisive issue.



Cathy Granell has been a teacher for 18 years and has been at Stanley Elementary for four. She says that the adoption of the Common Core standards forced her to change her approach to lesson planning.

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2:57 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

PHOTOS: Wichita Encapsulated In A Winter Storm

Snow falls hard in front of the Orpheum Theater on Broadway.
Sean Sandefur

The National Weather Service's winter storm warning delivered on its forecast of heavy snowfall in the Wichita area.

Accumulation started later than its forecasted time - but by 4 p.m. Tuesday, there was approximately six inches of snow on the ground.

According to Joe Pajor, deputy director of Wichita Public Works and Utilities, crews of 100 workers mobilized on Monday night and will continue to work 12-hour shifts until roadways are clear.

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