This week’s impact interview is with Conner Drigotas. Conner is the Managing Editor for the Connecticut Inside Investigator, an investigative nonprofit outlet dedicated to informing the people of corruption in the state’s politics through news reporting and in-depth investigative pieces.
Conner Drigotas Interview
You hold degrees in Government and Psychology, and a Masters in Business. How did your interest in policy begin?
In high school I had a job at a video production company. One task I helped with was running the video board for town meetings so the stream properly appeared on local access. Being in that room as decisions were made, I realized how much influence this small board had over my small town. From there, an interest in local, state and federal policy has led to working on eradicating corruption and expanding opportunity for value.
How did Young Voices help you become a more well-rounded person and writer? Which published works or media appearances Young Voices placed for you are you most proud of?
I enjoyed listening to Glenn Beck when I was growing up and it was a big win to have three of my op eds appear on his website during my year in the Writing Fellowship. The program was a great experience because of the people in the cohort, the constant feedback, and the step up of having a team available to help place writing. Young Voices opened doors to major newsrooms, thousands and millions of eyeballs, and helped put the tools in the toolbelt along the way.
How does your publication Connecticut Inside Investigator (CII) impact the state of Connecticut and its residents?
Insideinvestigator.org is a nonprofit investigative journalism website working to root out corruption. Our reporters are tasked with creating long form investigations to tell human stories and putting a spotlight on some of the most egregious bad actors in Connecticut. We tell stories other newsrooms can’t, or won’t, with the simple goal of providing reliable information. Our impact is realized by empowering people. In our first 17 months since launch we have published 67 investigations, and more than 660 news stories – each in service of ensuring no stone goes unturned and no corruption goes unnoticed. We get to stand in the gap for people and tell human stories. We’re growing!
You’re working on an online audio series entitled “Capitaoism”. What is Capitaoism and what do you hope to achieve through this project?
Capitaoism is an unscripted chapter by chapter look at the Tao Te Ching, and its surprising harmony with free market Capitalism. Despite not being translated into English until 1868, the ideas expressed in the Tao have shown up in the American Founding and are alive and well in free markets. I’m publishing this on Twitter as an experiment and my goal with the project is to encourage more people to consider what they value; what is value? I can’t give anyone their answer to the question, but I can help encourage the conditions of liberty and free markets which make peaceful realization of value possible. The ideas of human liberty are perennial, and we each have a one of a kind opportunity just by being alive. We each get to decide what to do with it – What an exciting opportunity!
What’s your advice for pro-liberty young people pursuing a career in journalism?
- Put pen to paper every day. Keep writing, and don’t be afraid to cut 20-50% of what you write. I’d suggest publishing even less. Focus on what is most important and invest in it.
- Ignore the crowd. Your voice in journalism is one of a kind, and much needed. There are pressures everywhere to follow trends and jump on the latest hot topic to drive clicks. Sit back, study hard, and get it right. Prioritize quality in journalism.
- Read things that aren’t journalism. Read novels, poetry, philosophy. comics, and anything outside the world of journalism. It will make you a better writer, but it may also save you from the grind a career in news and journalism can bring. Keep having fun. If you’re not having fun, your readers aren’t having fun. If your readers aren’t having fun, they won’t be readers for long.