Keynote Speakers

2023 Keynote Speakers: TBD

2022 Keynote Speakers:

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Ayron Lewallen

Growing up, Ayron knew that news would always play an important role in his life. He grew up watching the news every night as a child but never imagined it would lead him here.

Now, Ayron is a reporter with KSN News in Wichita, Kansas.

Prior to KSN, Ayron interned with WGCL/CBS46 in Atlanta in 2019. During this time there, he covered Colin Kaepernick’s NFL workout.

Ayron is a 2019 Morehouse College graduate, an all-men’s Historically Black College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in journalism. While in college, Ayron attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention and covered former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama’s keynote speeches. He has also traveled to Washington, DC to cover the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Ayron also interned with the Obama Foundation in 2018 as a digital intern.

In 2017, Ayron participated in the Discover the Unexpected program sponsored by Chevrolet and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He interned with The Carolinian Newspaper, the largest Black-owned newspaper in North Carolina, where he covered Bubba Wallace and the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy and Xfinity series races.

When he’s not covering stories, Ayron enjoys working out, traveling, listening to music, scrolling on social media laughing at memes, watching “Power” and “Insecure,” and going to Beyoncé concerts. He is a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists.