Russ Ptacek, Investigative Reporter * WUSA9 - CBS * Washington, DC
Russ Ptacek biography
NBC Action News Reporter Russ Ptacek brings two decades of award winning local and network experience to his role as investigative reporter. Politicians have resigned, and the CDC, EPA, and National Nuclear Security Administration have launched probes in the wake of Ptacek’s investigations.
His review of 40,000 FOIA documents and interviews with hundreds of sick workers identified toxins and deaths at a secret nuclear bomb part plant. He’s recognized for forensic Internet investigations and went viral with a smartphone investigation which sparked copycat reports worldwide and more than 6 million YouTube hits.
As a current member of the IRE he is asked to lecture on a regular basis both regionally and nationally on the topics of government watchdog programs and forensic internet investigations.
In his time at NBC Action News, one man Ptacek tried to interview pulled a gun instead of answering the questions. Another man rammed Ptacek and the photographer with his electric wheelchair while grabbing at the camera and the crew. Ptacek also witnessed a photographer who survived a direct hit from a passing car on a dark street while shooting a story.
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. While still a student at KU, Topeka CBS affiliate WIBW hired Russ as a part-time reporter. He continued his role at the station while attending class.
WIBW then offered Russ a full-time spot as the morning and noon anchor. While at WIBW, Russ’ reporting and investigative skills were recognized repeatedly with regional and national awards. His work also received attention from the networks where frequently contributed on-air reports.
He left WIBW to found an internationally recognized news agency, News TV Corporation. Russ's firm provided consulting, research, reporting and producing services to network news organizations like 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.