Raid of small Kansas newspaper raises free press concerns


August 14, 2023

A small town in Kansas has become a battleground over the First Amendment, after the local police force and county sheriff's deputies raided the office of the Marion County Record.

Raids of news organizations are exceedingly rare in the United States, with its long history of legal protections for journalists. At the Record, a family-owned paper with a circulation of about 4,000, police seized computers, servers and cellphones of reporters and editors. They also searched the home of the publication's owner and semiretired editor as well as the home of a member of the City Council.

The searches, conducted Friday, appeared to be linked to an investigation into how a document containing information about a local restaurateur found its way to the local newspaper — and whether the restaurant owner's privacy was violated in the process. The editor of the newspaper said the raids may have had more to do with tensions between the paper and officials in Marion, a town of about 2,000 north of Wichita, over prior coverage.


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