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MAD Gives Bright Spot and Hero Awards to Marion County Record
The Kansas paper stands up for itself in the face of intimidation from public officials it covers.
This article is part of U.S. Democracy Day, a nationwide collaborative on Sept. 15, the International Day of Democracy, in which news organizations cover how democracy works and the threats it faces. To learn more, visit usdemocracyday.org.
Members in attendance at the August 21, 2023 regular meeting of the Media and Democracy Project voted to recognize the Marion County Record, a community paper serving Marion County, Kansas, as both their Media and Democracy Hero Of The Week and Local Journalism Bright Spot. MAD sent the Record a letter announcing the awards. Members were also encouraged to support the Record by subscribing.
The Marion County Record gained international attention when police raided its offices on August 11th, allegedly in retaliation for investigations by the Record of the local police chief and a local business owner. Editor Eric Meyer said “it’s going to have a chilling effect on us even tackling issues…a chilling effect on people giving us information.” Days after its computers and equipment were taken, the paper issued the defiant front page headline, Seized…But Not Silenced.
Local journalists are the immune system of our communities, shining a light on dangers and holding the powerful to account. The promise of a free press is threatened whenever reporters are intimidated for simply doing their jobs. By defiantly standing up for itself in the face of scare tactics the Record was an easy choice for MAD’s Media and Democracy Hero Of The Week. Prior to the raid the Record boasted 4,000 subscribers in a county with only 12,000 residents, an impressive feat proving its value to its community and earning it the Bright Spot award.
The Record responded with an article about the awards and thanked MAD for its “vital work in highlighting the essential role media play in ensuring a functional democracy.” Members of MAD made donations to to the Kansas Newspaper Foundation, as suggested by the Record. As a show of support you can do so here.
Read and subscribe to the Marion County Record here.
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