2022, Retrospective
Looking back at our stories from 2022. Photo credit: Nenad Stojkovic / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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Fond farewell, 2022! We can’t really say you were worse than 2021 or 2020. 

In many ways you were better, overall, for America and for humanity. Of course there were exceptions, such as the horrific Russian war on Ukraine. 

We’re still working our way through COVID-19, but we fended off some of the constant threats to democracy — for the moment, at least. US democracy enjoyed a bit of calm before the storm that is looming in 2024.

Here at WhoWhatWhy, we did what we always do: focused on what matters, overcame hurdles, and consistently moved forward. 

We are especially proud of our staying the course on an issue that, for the public and the media at large, gets only episodic attention: the integrity of our voting system. 

We were way ahead of the pack on this and we unapologetically, indeed gleefully, “geek out” about everything from the pros and cons of electronic voting to the ways in which potential votes are suppressed. 

Among our accomplishments was publishing, for the first time ever, a data-driven Elections Report Card that looks at various factors affecting the democratic franchise to vote — from the fairness of districts and the process of drawing them to the enactment of voter suppression laws, the ease of voting, and opportunities to directly participate in democracy.

At a time when so many news organizations were laying people off or going under — and cutting back on coverage — we were headed in the opposite direction, actually increasing the total number of stories published per week. 

We became a player in a popular new distribution ecosystem, launching a substack newsletter, Going Deep with Russ Baker, where every week I weigh in on issues that seem not to get the attention they deserve. 

We added people, systems, and structure for the long-term viability and impact of WhoWhatWhy. Our board of directors grew and became even more diverse, with a mix of accomplished and thoughtful individuals of all backgrounds.  

We stayed true to our basic principles and workplace values, remaining advertising-free, functioning as a nonprofit, directing as much as possible of the public donations we receive into paying working journalists, while also relying on a heroic team of skilled volunteers to keep our operations running. 

We remained a place that invites in young newcomers and gives them the guidance to excel, as well as remaining staunchly anti-age discrimination and proudly featuring team members of all ages, well beyond the corporate notion of retirement. 

We undertook new initiatives to expand awareness of our work, including a presence on popular news aggregator apps and more frequent and engaging mailings.

Most of all, when the information landscape was dominated by the chaos of takeovers and mergers, and the bad behavior of superrich egomaniacs, we focused on the basic purposes and values of journalism. This confirmed our founding principle: that what we call “adult public education” — which is exactly what journalism should be — is too important to be left to the vagaries of the profit-obsessed world. 

Thanks to you — our team, our readers, our partners, our supporters — we had a pretty good year. And here’s to an even better 2023!

Author

  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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