Award winning Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek's stories have prompted Congressional hearings, and sparked reform at state and federal agencies.
Russ speaks at national journalism conferences as an expert on forensic analysis of social media posts, the art of interviewing, and Freedom of Information Act requests. He's also reported on millions of dollars in unreported government bonuses, race biased taxis, and restaurant health risks. His web analyses have identified Smartphone privacy risks and exposed a politician who stalked teens online.
Since arriving at WUSA 9 in 2012, Russ has sparked debate in three separate Congressional hearings, exposed Pepco and BGE continuing to bill electrical consumers services while they were disconnected during storms, and uncovered serious health risks at dozens of DMV restaurants.
Russ has roots in the area as a graduate of Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, VA, but grew up in Pratt, KS. prior to moving to Northern Virginia with his family in the early 80's.
Russ is a graduate of the University of Kansas, and before returning to Washington, D.C. he established himself with two decades of award winning journalism. Russ has worked as a local reporter, as a producer and on-air contributor for both network and syndicated shows.
As a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, he is asked to lecture on a regular basis both regionally and nationally on the topics of government watchdog programs and forensic internet investigations.
Russ began his career in Lawrence as a student reporter on University of Kansas radio station KJHK where he was news director and the host of a news talk show. Topeka CBS affiliate WIBW hired Russ as a part-time reporter while he was still a student at KU. WIBW then offered Russ a full-time spot as the morning and noon anchor. While at WIBW, Russ won regional and national awards for his reporting and was a contributor to network newscasts.
He left WIBW to found an internationally recognized news agency, News TV Corporation. Russ's firm provided consulting, research, reporting and producing services to CBS, NBC, CNN, and the BBC. He sold the firm in 2001 and returned to the University of Kansas to finish his degree. After graduating at KU, Russ studied and lived in Germany prior to returning to Kansas City to report for NBC Action News.
Russ returned to the Washington area to lead WUSA's 9 Wants to Know investigative unit.