Russ Walker, an experienced multimedia editor and investigative journalist, will be the first executive editor of PA Post, the non-profit, non-partisan statewide news organization launched in September 2018 by WITF Public Media.
Walker most recently served as assistant news director, executive producer for investigations and online managing editor for KING 5 in Seattle, Wash., the state’s leading TV station. His experience also includes positions as senior editor at Politico, and assistant managing editor and business and technology editor for washingtonpost.com.
Effective July 15, Walker will lead the PA Post editorial team based in Harrisburg, Pa. and coordinate with PA Post media partners and affiliates statewide.
“PA Post is steadily building an audience across the state by delivering valuable in-depth reporting about what’s important in Pennsylvania,” said Cara Williams Fry, chief content officer for PA Post and WITF. “Under Russ’s leadership, PA Post will accelerate the growth of its journalism, media partnerships and in-person events to connect the citizens of Pennsylvania to their state.”
Walker’s investigative projects have earned two Peabody Awards, national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, and regional Emmy Awards. They also have prompted new laws in Washington state, inspiring journalists in other states to pursue similar projects. The 2018 Peabody was awarded for Back of the Class, aproject Walker edited that revealed stunning failures of Washington public schools to provide support and services for students with disabilities. As stated in the award citation, “the result is impressive journalism that led the Washington state legislature to prioritize education for all children.”
“Russ’s strong editorial background and extensive experience leading collaborative projects will make him a great addition to the PA Post team,” said Ron Hetrick, CEO of WITF Public Media. “His proven track record of leading compelling reporting promises to lift our efforts to inform Pennsylvanians, and engage them in public policy and issues that impact us all.”
Walker said, “I’m excited to join this ambitious news organization, which is dedicated to connecting Pennsylvania’s 13 million citizens to the elected officials serving them at all levels of government, from the Capitol in Harrisburg to the smallest townships. PA Post’s commitment to partnering with media organizations across the commonwealth will ensure that PA Post journalism reaches Pennsylvanians wherever they get their news.”
In addition to publishing at PAPost.org, PA Post distributes The Context, a weekday e-newsletter,and State of the State, a weekly podcast. PA Post alsoproduces multi-month investigative projects such as Through the Cracks, whichis examining connections between mental health and other public health issues such as opioid addiction, gun violence and suicide. The news organization is currently producing deep-dive reporting on Protection from Abuse orders (PFAs), including under what circumstances a domestic abuser may be required to surrender a gun. PA Post’s inquiry for county data on PFA weapons requests appears to be the first such inquiry by any news organization in 23 years.
As a collaborative news organization, PA Post is both a destination for, and a distributor of, Pennsylvania news. It independently gathers news and reports it on its own media platforms, and delivers news through partner media outlets throughout state. It also collaborates with other public and commercial media organizations on in-depth reporting projects, and distributes their content on PAPost.org.
PA Post is supported by individual donations, corporate underwriting, and topic-focused and place-based foundation contributions.
About PA Post
PA Post is a statewide, non-profit, digital-first news organization that reports on – and engages citizens in – public policy and issues that impact all Pennsylvanians. The mission of PA Post is to connect Pennsylvanians to their state, and each other, with accountability journalism and deep-dive reporting. PA Post was launched by WITF Public Media, a non-profit media organization with more than 50 years of experience covering Pennsylvania’s legislature, state agencies and state issues. PA Post products include The Context, a free weekday curated e-newsletter, and State of the State, a weekly podcast. For Pennsylvania state news and more information about PA Post, visit PAPost.org.
WITF Public Media is a trusted provider of public media news and programming for approximately 2.3 million citizens in 19 counties of south central Pennsylvania. WITF’s media and educational services include public television (WITF-TV), two public radio services (WITF 89.5 and WYPM 93.3 Chambersburg), a statewide digital news service (PA Post); social media presences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and a production services division (Media Solutions). WITF is the founder and fiscal agent for PA Post, a statewide non-profit, non-partisan news organization reporting on policy and issues that affect all Pennsylvanians. For more information, visit WITF.org.