We talked to Russ Baker of WhoWhatWhy about investigative reporting during the pandemic times.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Russ Baker: We’re coping, like everyone, looking after others, and staying focused on the productive work that is even more essential in hard times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WhoWhatWhy.
Russ Baker: After a long career in journalism, I launched WhoWhatWhy, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to more thoughtful, deeper, honest, public service journalism
How does WhoWhatWHy innovate?
Russ Baker: We cover stories and angles others don’t, we focus on substance over that which primarily excites or entertains, and we do it solely with funding from the public and a large skilled volunteer team
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Russ Baker: It has primarily affected us by bringing in many more people who want to help. The unique circumstances in which we find ourselves as a country make the work’s relevance and urgency all that much more apparent.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Russ Baker: Fundraising is tough right now, and there are many competing needs. So we’ve had to buckle down and do more with less. A surge in skilled volunteers has really helped – we have people coming in from all kinds of fields.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and WhoWhatWhy in the future?
Russ Baker: I try to enjoy myself at all times, get enough sleep and exercise, appreciate quiet moments, slow down, and observe other people and nature. I’d say we project positivity, and calm, suffused with as much energy as we can muster.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Russ Baker: Every other news organization, commercial or nonprofit, is a kind of competitor. But no one has quite the focus and the approach we do. We will keep concentrating on quality and carefully building our enterprise and not let external pressures and stresses distract us.
Your final thoughts?
Russ Baker: Your mindset pretty much affects your success. Work hard, treat others well, be strategic, and everything else will take care of itself.
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