By Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2020

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Two Kansas newspaper publishers and a veteran political reporter for The Associated Press are being inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame.

The inductees are Linda Denning, editor and publisher of the Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter; John Hanna, the AP’s Topeka correspondent; and Gary Mehl, retired editor and publisher of the McPherson Sentinel.

They were to be honored Thursday evening during in ceremony being held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Denning was a longtime social editor at the Salina Journal before she and a Journal colleague started the Ellsworth County Independent when Morris Multimedia bought the Ellsworth Reporter. In 2001, she partnered with Morris to run the new merged newspaper, the Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter.

Hanna began his career in 1986 with a temporary assignment during the spring before he graduated from the University of Kansas. He has reported from the Kansas Statehouse full time since 1987 and assumed the lead role in the bureau upon the retirement in 1999 of his mentor, the late Lew Ferguson, who is also a member of the Hall of Fame. In that time, he has covered every major political story in the state.

Mehl worked for 45 years at the McPherson Sentinel, with several years in advertising before working for 13 years as editor and publisher before his retirement in 2010. He also served as a regional manager, overseeing the operations in El Dorado, Augusta, Derby, Pratt, Dodge City, Newton and several small weeklies.

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