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 says, where he caught "the NPR bug."

A graduate of Webster University in St. Louis, Mo., Sean joined KMUW in January of 2014.

He often covers the intersection of government and citizenry. His story about chemical contamination in a west Wichita neighborhood won a national Society of Professional Journalists award for investigative journalism. His coverage of Wichita's "No Ferguson Here" movement won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for hard news.

Sean also has experience in television, completing an internship at KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn., where he covered massive flood damage as a multimedia journalist.

Outside of work, Sean has an addiction to baseball and has a cat named after his literary hero, Huckleberry Finn.

Ways to Connect

Flazingo Photos, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department of Labor has released its jobs report for March. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 3.9 percent, slightly lower than February’s 4 percent.

The unemployment rate for March was also lower than March of 2015, which recorded a rate of 4.3 percent. That’s a growth of nearly 23,000 jobs, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The report also states that 2,500 non-farm jobs were created from February to March, most of which was seen in private sector areas like trade, transportation and utilities.

Becky McCray, flickr Creative Commons

The City of Wichita has announced a plan to help keep the Old Town entertainment district safe at night and on weekends.

The Wichita Police Department says violent crime in Old Town has decreased since 2012, but city officials say work still needs to be done. Mayor Jeff Longwell debuted recommendations for keeping the area safe.

“Some of the changes we’re making that we think will help provide a little bit better environment for everyone down there is allowing the hiring of off-duty officers,” Longwell says.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom is stepping down on Friday after serving for nearly six years. His tenure has seen foiled terrorism plots, and the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to arrest and convict numerous gang members in western Kansas. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur sat down with Grissom and has this interview.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Wichita City Council members expressed frustration this morning over a decision by Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill aimed at cleaning up blighted buildings.

The discussion happened just after Lavonta Williams was selected to be the city’s next vice mayor.

During the meeting, City Council member Pete Meitzner mentioned Williams’ dedication to improving Wichita’s blighted neighborhoods. He said he disagreed with Brownback’s characterization of a bill that was meant to make it easier for municipalities to seize abandoned buildings.

Pieter van Marion / Flickr Creative Commons

Southwest Airlines will no longer provide nonstop flights to Dallas and Chicago from Wichita starting tomorrow. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports that two other cities will replace the routes.

Southwest is ending their nonstop service to the Chicago Midway and Dallas Love Field airports due to lack of passengers. Instead, nonstop flights will travel to Phoenix and St. Louis.

Valerie Wise, a spokeswoman for Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, says there will be positive aspects for passengers.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on an Amtrak train derailment that injured 28 people near Cimarron, Kansas, last month. Damages to the train and railroad will cost about $1.4 million.

The train was carrying 130 passengers and 14 crew members as it traveled from Los Angeles to Chicago. It derailed just after midnight on March 14.

mcdarius, flickr Creative Commons

The Global Learning Center of Wichita is hosting a series of talks this weekend about climate change and its threat to the world’s water and food supplies.

The nonprofit has been around since 1988 and is focused on presenting issues that affect people both in Kansas and around the world. The organization’s latest series of speakers will narrow in on climate change and what it’s doing to the world’s water and food supplies.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Two weeks ago, a massive wildfire spread into Kansas from northern Oklahoma. It left behind more than 600 square miles of blackened land in its wake.

Responders from dozens of state and local agencies battled the fire as it burned out of control for several days. Many of the emergency responders in Barber County, Kansas, were volunteers who were trying to protect their own homes, those of their neighbors, and their herds of cattle. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur toured some of the damage with a man who’s been fighting Kansas wildfires for 25 years.

April is officially Financial Literacy Month in Kansas. Gov. Sam Brownback signed the proclamation on Monday as part of a national campaign to help people manage money, investments and debt.

According to the Federal Reserve, total consumer debt in the United States is nearly $3.4 trillion, and about 26 percent of that is in the form of credit cards.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

The majority of business owners surveyed by the Wichita Independent Business Association say the state’s income tax exemption for many small businesses should be amended.

Back in 2012, Gov. Sam Brownback ended all taxes on non-wage income for LLCs, subchapter S corporations and sole proprietorships, calling the move a “shot of adrenaline” for the economy. The idea was that small businesses would keep more of the money they make, allowing them to hire more people and expand their facilities.