America's Attention Deficit Disorder
The closer we get to a presidential election, the more excited and focused we become about our country, its values, and its future. But the minute it's over...Eh! Time for something else.
The media are the principal culprits—they put so much energy into the horse race and so little into being long-term watchdogs.
That's a tragedy.
Because it doesn't matter so much what the candidates promise the public on the stump—it's what they do when the rest of us move on that really affects our lives. That's when the people who have been paying for the campaigns come to collect.
So who's volunteering to keep an eye on the scoundrels—and on the perfectly decent people who can't help but be corrupted by the process? We are. We're WhoWhatWhy, a feisty, nonpartisan investigative news source that is neither part of the mainstream, nor overly deferential to authority, nor stuck on rigid ideology. We're inclined to report whatever we find—no matter who likes the results.This particular combination sets us apart from other outfits.
We just want to know what's going on—what's really going on—then tell you about it, in the most compelling way possible, so you can be well informed. And so that you, if you choose, can take action.
We've already established a nice head of steam, as you can see, above, at our website. But we're just getting started. Our Post-Election Project will enable us to hit the ground running right after the November presidential election and deploy reporters in Washington and on Wall Street and anywhere else decisions are being made that affect us all.
WhoWhatWhy: The Post-Election Project.
WIth your help, right after the election and continuing through November, 2013, we will mount our Post-Election Project.
We’ll chronicle the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that makes a mockery of democracy. We’ll skip the press conferences and the polls and go after the red meat.
With your help,
- We'll produce informative and surprising weekly Post-Election articles
- We'll produce bi-weekly Post-Election audiocasts with WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief, Russ Baker
- We'll produce compelling monthly Post-Election videos on location
- We'll create a separate, dedicated Post-Election channel on the site so you can find our Post-Election Project stories easily
- We'll review promises made and investigate promises kept
- We'll show you how you can get involved and be heard
Anyone visiting our site, WhoWhatWhy.com, knows that we’re different— conscientious, curious, determined to get to the bottom of things. With your support, we’ll be the public’s watchdog when the officials get hired, the policies set, our tax dollars spent, and our young people sent off to foreign wars.
We need your help.
If this sounds good to you, if this sounds like what you’ve been missing in the heat of the debates, whether you are part of the two-party system or support a third-party, or no party, we hope you’ll support us and our Post-Election Project to bring you the Who, the What, and the Why.
And there's more. We have a bunch of neat gifts for donors that give you various levels of access and participation in our process. Check out the Rewards on the right. At a certain donation level you can actually ride shotgun with WhoWhatWhy's founder, investigative journalist Russ Baker, as he works on a story.
WhoWhatWhy is non-profit and entirely supported by the public. We’re beholden to nobody but the public.
Donations to WhoWhatWhy go to our 501(c)3 nonprofit entity and are tax-deductible.
Meet some of our team.
Russ Baker, Editor-in-chief of WhoWhatWhy, is an award-winning investigative reporter. Russ has reported for major news sources worldwide, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The Times of London, Esquire and dozens of other outlets; served as contributing editor for Columbia Journalism Review; and wrote the bestseller Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (Bloomsbury Press, 2009).
Gerald Jonas, Senior Editor. Before coming to WhoWhatWhy, Gerry was a longtime staff writer for The New Yorker and science fiction book critic for The New York Times. He is the author of six non-fiction books and has received numerous awards in journalism and documentary film writing.
Margaret Engel, Board Secretary. Peggy is president of the Alicia Patterson Foundation ("To foster, promote, sustain and improve the best traditions of American journalism"). Over the years, she has been Managing Editor of The Newseum in Washington, DC; a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and a staff reporter at The Washington Post, The Des Moines Register, and The Lorain (OH) Journal. She is also the co-author of Red Hot Patriot, a play about journalist Molly Ivins.
Daniel Ellsberg (pioneering whistleblower of Pentagon Papers fame); Frances Moore Lappé (the food policy writer and visionary); Wendell Potter (the health insurance whistleblower); David Talbot (founder of Salon); and Sydney Schanberg (The New York Times reporter whose coverage of the Cambodian genocide won the Pulitzer Prize).
Melissa J White, Reader Experience Designer, Santa Fe, NM; Christian Stork, Reporter and Social Media Coordinator; New York; and James Huang, Technology Administrator, New York.
Risks and challenges
We're a modest enterprise with a big vision. We know we can't be all things to all people. And we know that our Kickstarter goal of $50,000, or even ten times that much, is very little for a labor-intensive news outfit.
But we also have proven that we can do a lot with a little. We can project outsized influence on our democratic process by focusing carefully on a few areas, and by leveraging our network of smart folks in the trenches, who keep an eye on legislation and backroom deals and who know the money trails.
Still, our new project will not be easy. We’ll be looking for the best, smartest gumshoes, who are willing to sacrifice comfort for substance. The podcasts and audiocasts are new terrain for us, and it will be a learning experience. And of course not all of you claiming Kickstarter Rewards that involve journalism training will have the same skills sets; some will need more guidance.
Doing this kind of work can be overwhelming, which is why we plan to give our reporters the supervision and inspiration that keeps them moving toward the target. We have a great editorial advisory group, and we’ll count on them, too.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)