The Kansas City Star has hired two reporters, boosting its coverage of health care and expanding the role of data in its investigative journalism.
Kelsey Ryan, 28, joins The Star as an investigative/data reporter and will work with the newspaper’s investigative and enterprise reporting teams. Andy Marso, 35, will become a business reporter focused on health care.
Each has built a career in Kansas journalism that has included coverage of government, health care and other topics.
“Kelsey has a proven record of using data and old-fashioned digging to find stories that serve the public interest,” said Mike Fannin, editor of The Star. “Readers have told us they want more accountability journalism, and we’re excited to add to our already stellar investigative team.”
Ryan joins The Star from the Wichita Eagle, where she has worked since September 2012 after more than a year at the Joplin Globe. A native of Newton, Kan., she graduated from Emporia State University.
At the Eagle, Ryan has managed and curated databases, produced online resources for readers and worked with reporters to expand their stories.
Her own stories have used data to highlight the dangers of certain kinds of dams dubbed drowning machines and drawn attention to deaths and injuries of children in day care. She also provided a searchable database to accompany coverage of Kansas legislators who benefited from the state’s tax exemption for specific kinds of businesses.
“The Star is poised for doing this kind of work,” Ryan said, noting Kansas City’s span across the state line. “That’s twice the data to delve into.”
Fannin noted Marso’s personal battle to survive bacterial meningitis while a senior at the University of Kansas and its influence on the journalism he has done since. Marso lost both feet and both hands but for his right thumb to the disease.
“Andy brings a deep passion for coverage of health care and the business of health care. His incredible personal story gives him empathy for real people with real problems and helps him connect policy with patient care,” Fannin said.
Since August 2014, Marso has covered health care at Kansas News Service, which is part of KCUR and was formerly called Kansas Health Institute News Service. He also has covered Kansas government for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He earned journalism degrees from KU and the University of Maryland.
His recent work has included a look at medicine by monthly fee in the Kansas City area, a mounting backlog of Medicaid applications in Kansas, and a Kansas state senator’s pursuit of public development funds while behind on his own property taxes.
At The Star, Marso intends to translate for readers the health care policy changes in Washington, Topeka and Jefferson City, and how they impact the health care industry and health care itself.
Marso said his personal perspective as a health care consumer helped him develop his understanding of health care policy and health care providers as a journalist.
“I’ve been there in that hospital bed,” Marso said of his battle that began in 2004, “entirely at the mercy of the health care system and seeing both the good and bad of that.”