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Inside the Media Mind of Justin Doubleday, Senior Reporter at Federal News Network

This week on Inside the Media Minds, our host Christine Blake was joined by fellow colleague, Jason Werden, VP of Public Sector at W2 Communications to welcome Justin Doubleday, Senior Reporter at Federal News Network.

For nearly a decade, Justin has been reporting on the latest issues impacting the public sector. Before joining Federal News Network, Justin got his start as an intern at The Chronicle of Higher Education, before spending seven years at Inside Defense, where he spent time covering the Army, Navy and the Pentagon. Then, in 2021, Justin moved to Federal News Network, where he now focuses on cybersecurity, homeland security and the intelligence community.

Be sure to tune in to the full episode or read the transcript to discover more about Justin’s career path, insights on the hottest topics inside the Beltway and how to get his ear, including:

  • Why the security clearance process has always intrigued him
  • The time Justin took a C2 Greyhound to an offshore aircraft carrier 
  • Why ChatGPT is here to stay in the Federal Government
  • The remaining obstacles for implementing the National Cyber Strategy 
  • How Federal News Network stays connected during remote work


0:53 – Justin’s Journey to Federal News Network

3:10 – What Intrigues Him the Most

4:25 – Most Memorable Topic Over His Career

7:10 – Key Topics Inside the Beltway

9:28 – Generative AI in Federal Agencies

15:43 – His Perspective on the National Cyber Strategy Implementation Plan

23:09 – How Justin Gets His Resources

27:03 – The Topics He’s Tired of Hearing About

30:49 – A Reporter’s View on How WFH Has Impacted Journalism

Can’t wait for another episode of Inside the Media Minds? Why not revisit some of our past episodes here!


Christine Blake (CB): Welcome to Inside the Media Minds. This is your host, Christine Blake. This show features in-depth interviews with tech reporters who share everything from their biggest pet peeves to their favorite stories. From our studio at W2 Communications. Let’s go Inside the Media Minds. 

CB: Hi, everyone, this is Christine Blake, the host of Inside the Media Minds. And today we have a special co-host joining this podcast episode Jason Werden, the VP of public sector here at W2 Communications and my colleague. So welcome, Jason.

Jason Werden (JW): Thank you for having me, Christine.

CB: [inaudible] Yeah and I know we’re both thrilled to have Justin Doubleday as our guest on the podcast. He is a reporter at Federal News Network, so thank you, Justin, for coming and joining us today.

Justin Doubleday (JD): Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

CB: Absolutely. We’re excited to chat with you talk a little bit about your background, how you got into the industry, and some of those current hot topics in that public sector space. So let’s start out with just how about you provide us a quick overview of your background and I know you worked at Inside Defense and then made your way over to Fed News Network. So love to hear about that journey.

JD: Yeah, so I’ve been reporting in DC for almost a decade now since 20, fall 2013. I came down here after I graduated for an internship that fall with the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is a great publication, it was a great internship and introduction to DC and, uh, really professional journalism and how that all works. And after that internship, I stuck around and freelanced for a while in DC and eventually found a job at Inside Defense in the summer of 2014. And for folks who aren’t aware Inside Defense kind of covers the in the weeds of the Defense Department, policy programs, world acquisition, you know, big weapons systems and what’s going on there with their development, with testing with cost overruns, and things like that. And again, that was a great introduction, uh, to how kind of the different branches of government work, of course, especially, um, you know, within the federal, within the executive branch, how agencies budget and program and things like that, and then covering Congress covering the NDAA every year. So I covered the Army for a couple years, and I covered the Navy for a couple years. And then I moved over to the Pentagon-wide beat, at Inside Defense, kind of covering emerging tech and things like that. And I was there for a total of seven years. And then in 2021, I moved over to Federal News Network. And that’s where I’ve been ever since.

CB: Wow, that’s quite a journey. And I know seven years in anywhere is, a long time these days. So tell us about your role at Federal News Network? What are some of the topics that you cover there? And how do you approach those topics?

JD: Sure. So you know, I’m a reporter there, there’s just just a handful of us really, actually on the kind of editorial and reporting staff at Federal News Network. And I specifically cover cybersecurity, Homeland Security, the intelligence community, um, as kind of my big focuses there, but we all kind of share in covering different things, whether that’s federal technology developments at different agencies, workforce developments, um, I have some niche interests and things like federal records management…

CB: Hmm.

JD: …and digital identity. So it’s kind of interesting, the, it’s kind of like wildfire smoke, you get blown around a little bit, and then…

CB: [laughs]

JD: …you end up covering different things you didn’t initially expect. But, um, yeah, I kind of approach it from those different focuses, but every week, it’s different. It’s something different.

CB: Yeah, that definitely keeps it exciting, I’m sure. 

JD: Yeah, it does. I learn something new every week, I talk to someone new, almost every single week. And I really like, uh, kind of being able to dive into the weeds of what different agencies are working on the challenges they’re facing and the like.

CB: Mhmm. Yeah, I know, we’re gonna dig into some of those hot topics and things that you’ve been covering, but I’m just curious, like, you know, in in all of your experience at Inside Defense and Federal News Network, what has been one of the most memorable stories that you’ve written or topics that you’ve covered?

JD: Oh, that’s, that’s a great question. You know, it’s there’s, there’s topics that are really fascinating. Um, and one of them is just the security clearance process and I actually started covering that Inside Defense. And I’ve carried that over to Federal News Network and and just this whole idea that there’s this whole kind of separate, cleared workforce that are under different rules…

CB: Mhmm.

JD: …you know, have to meet these different requirements, have these constraints. Um, you know, there’s the whole process of clearing people, that is a huge barrier to federal employment and agencies, recruiting folks and things like that. I think that’s just a fascinating topic.

CB: Yeah.

JD: One of the coolest reporting experiences I ever have done, uh, it is getting to go out to, uh, a naval aircraft carrier, and cover, uh, cover C trials for the F 35, uh, B Jet. Back when I was covering the Navy at Inside Defense, you know, got to take the the, I think, its a C2 Greyhound plane out to a ship off the coast of Virginia, off to a an aircraft carrier off the coast of Virginia and see that in action, that was pretty crazy, uh, pretty cool reporting experience as a young reporter.

CB: Yeah, guess so, that’s super cool.

JD: Yeah, so I mean, those are, those are some of the highlights, I mean, I I’m kind of a nerd about different like policies and things, you have to be a little bit in this space…

CB: Yeah.

JD: …to stay engaged. Um, I really am interested in the open source intelligence, um, kind of storyline today, that’s really emerged out of the Ukraine conflict, and this whole idea that, you know, Intel, US intelligence agencies, probably need to do a better job of taking advantage of open source intelligence. Um, they’re no longer kind of the, the sole player in the game when it comes to gathering, you know, satellite intelligence, obviously, and, and things like that. Uh, the internet has really created a lot of, um, intelligence and questions about how the intelligence community can, you know, use that take advantage of it, you know, while still, you know, maintaining privacy and complying with US laws. So I think that’s another big, really interesting topic that I’m interested in today.

JW: Speaking of those interesting topics, each week, Christine takes members of the media like yourself inside their media mind, how about you and I take it a bit further inside the beltway here? What are those key topics that you’re covering or that you really think your readers need to be in the know about?

JD: I think, um, one of the big ones that’s obviously emerged over the last six months is generative AI, and how agencies are approaching that topic. And it’s a tough one to get details on because like every organization on the face of the earth, in federal agencies, they’re still struggling to come up with their own policies around how they use things like ChatGPT, and, um, similar, um, you know, large language models. I think you’ve seen legislation to come out on the Hill recently, uh, to start to look at that the folks that I’m talking to a lot in federal agencies are thinking about it have started different policy development teams and things like that. Um, but it’s a big open question and I think it’s going to be one of the big ones here in Washington, obviously, for the next, for the foreseeable future, really.

JW: Absolutely.

JD: And cybersecurity is, you know, just the constant, uh, you know, sort of story that the the neverending story, the story that keeps on giving. Um, in federal government, there’s there’s just new attack vectors, new threats that pop up every week, agencies are struggling with legacy tech, um, to kind of, you know, modernize that so that they can do things like multi factor authentication. They struggle with policies and funding to to to kind of upgrade their secure secure defenses and so I think that’s one. Workforce, I think…

CB: Mhmm.

JD: …is another big piece that gets lost in that security conversation, cybersecurity conversation. You know, recruiting and retention is such a challenge for agencies when they’re going up against companies that can offer double the salary. But there’s a lot going on in that space, too, with, you know, different solutions to kind of solve that problem. So that’s the kind of an essential storyline for me, um, going forward.

JW: Let’s start to both those a bit further, on AI front, just as the as of the week of our recording [June 9th] this conversation, two new bills were introduced on the Hill. Where do you see this going next in terms of being able to present actual tangible use cases and having generative AI deployment among federal agencies?

JD: I think you’re already starting to see conversations around you know, AI deployments that’s been going on for what like the past five years just AI and machine learning? Sometimes there’s some marketing kung fu that goes on in there in terms of whether it’s…

JW: Sometimes?!

JD:…actually a guy versus machine learning. [chuckles] Yeah. Right. So, um, I think generative AI is still, it’s, that’s a tough one to answer in terms of specific use cases. Because I think there’s this big concern at agencies around, if we open up our internal data, to these models for name your use case, that we’re opening up, obviously, our data to be pulled into these models and then exploited more widely. And so I think right now, there’s kind of a holding pattern around that. But for AI and machine learning, I mean, I cover DHS, as we talked about, and they’re looking at using kind of machine learning at, you know, customs and border protection to scan, uh, cargo that’s coming into the United States to more easily identify fentanyl, and, uh, just different things that shouldn’t be in that cargo, as opposed to having a human kind of just looking at that. And, uh, they’re exploring that area. That’s one specific, um, use case that I think you’re going to see coming about here and I think I think they actually already have a solicitation out in the street, that includes that, um, aspect of cargo screening.

JW: So going away from tangible and a bit more into theoretical, what ethical challenges are at play here? I mean, yes, we can find different ways of piecing this to, uh, to real examples, but there’s also a more of an ethical quandary about this overall. And you wrote about it a few weeks ago, on how, you know, there’s this promise and peril of AI overall.

JD: Yeah, I mean, there there’s so many challenges around ethics, around privacy around security, uh, that folks are talking about. I think, ethically, obviously, federal agencies have to tread lightly, especially in the law enforcement realm when they’re handing over, you know, sort of control to an algorithm. We’ve seen this with facial recognition, of course, where there’s just a lot of trepidation around using facial recognition and the law enforcement community to identify potential suspects to identify, um, you know, even even people coming into the United States and whether they’re on a watch list or not, that’s that’s starting to happen a little bit at agencies like CBP and TSA, they’re starting to do some pilot programs, around using facial recognition at checkpoints at the airport. And an interesting part of this conversation is around, you know, there’s privacy concerns, there’s ethical concerns. And then the flip side is that this is not just a security tool, necessarily, it has to be a security tool, it has to be secure. But it’s also a convenience thing that they’re kind of casting as you can get through the airport, check lane, check in lanes faster, who wouldn’t want that? Um, you can you can get through customs faster on the backside, who wouldn’t want that? But that’s through the use of facial recognition, which still has a lot of questions and quandaries around it. And I think you’re seeing actually DHS being pretty transparent in the sense that they’re testing a lot of these algorithms, they’re kind of coming out and saying, okay, it’s certain ones work well, certain ones don’t work well in these conditions. So I’m hoping that the the agency DHS as a whole and the agencies underneath it, as they explore not just facial recognition, but AI in general will continue to be transparent about how they want to use it, about the performance of these algorithms. And that will require some accountability within how these algorithms are designed, and how we understand, you know, how they work. Are they auditable? Things like that.

CB: Yeah, there’s been such a significant increase in just the the talk, and then even just the use of the word AI as a buzzword. It’s crazy. So it’s interesting to see how this will play out in the federal landscape.

JD: Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s sorry, go ahead.

JW: Particularly how it comes to market research. Federal News Network was covering that just today, in speaking with DHS recently. How will that impact?

JD: Yeah, I think, um, I think that’s a story that my colleague Jason Miller wrote, and I think I haven’t read it so sorry, Jason, but I will.

CB & JW: [laughing]

JD: It’s it on the face on the face of it though. I think the answer your question is that, um, some of these use cases for like, you know, scanning, um, scanning the internet for just different, you know, keywords to do market research, to do supply chain security, to understand who’s in your supply chain, using some flavor of AI and automation, I think you’re gonna continue to see that, um, you know, just, it’s hard for humans to kind of poke into every single corner of, you know, a specific market or, you know, to really understand everything that’s going on that’s out there. But if you can have an algorithm, obviously, scanning all publicly available sources, then you’re gonna want to do that. And I think you’re gonna continue to see folks do that in the market research and security, uh, kind of realm, the compliance realm as well. I’m hearing a lot around automating, um, you know, security compliance regimes like FedRAMP and, you know, things like that.

JW: Let’s put it to the latter half of what you first threw out on the cybersecurity end. call it a never ending story, which I see you riding Falkor through the along the beltway talking about the National Cybersecurity Strategy endlessly. Last month, it finally came to fruition and was released after months of coverage from your end, diving into the the strategy itself and the directives put forth. Where do you see the National Cybersecurity Strategy going next in terms of implementation?

JD: Well, that is the big question right now, they’ve put out the strategy that espouses some really high level principles and goals. And so now we’re all waiting on this, you know, implementation plan to come out of the Office of the National Cyber Director, um, at the White House. They initially said that June was kind of an early target…for releasing that implementation plan, but might be more likely later this summer. But that will answer a lot of questions around, you know, um, what are agency’s specifically in charge of doing that’s, that’s a big question for me, in the critical infrastructure realm and raising the bar on critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, you have different agencies that oversee different sectors of critical infrastructure. They’ve already taken a lot of action over the last couple of years when you’re talking about the TSA pipeline, uh, security directives, some of the work that the Energy Department is doing on the electricity sector cybersecurity issue, but what more are they going to do based on the strategy that really calls for kind of raising the bar and imposing some, some form of regulation or requirements on critical infrastructure beyond what we’ve already seen. And then for federal agencies, you know, we know that they’ve got the cybersecurity executive order that came out in May 2021. That’s driven a lot of action, specifically on federal agency cybersecurity already, but as they move into, you know, the buzzword zero trust architecture, and, uh, continue to try to adopt all those different principles. What more will they be doing under this National Cyber Strategy to really shore up security in the federal civilian executive branch? That’s, that’s a big question for me, uh, this summer.

JW: Right. What, Where are the biggest challenges yet to come? Is it in the implementation itself? Is it in learning how to follow the directives put forth? Is it in the technology that’s still needed to get to these proposed success points? Where do you see, uh, the like, biggest obstacles remaining?

JD: I think, you know, all of the above, really.  I think if you talk to any agencies, CIO or CISO, they would say that, you know, it’s difficult to, you know, upgrade security, it’s difficult to, you know, implement things like multi factor authentication on a lot of the legacy technology, that agencies are still operating in some spaces. And so this whole IT modernization and cybersecurity conversation, uh, conversations, they go hand in hand. I think, you know, the other big thing is workforce, as we’ve talked about before, you know, they, there’s just this persistent gap in the cyber workforce across federal agencies. And I think you’re gonna see a cyber workforce strategy actually come out here later this year is the target from again, the Office of the National Cyber Director. That’s the big thing to look out for.

JW: [laughs] Yeah. How big is that gap still? And what do we have to do to actually make some ground toward reaching the other end?

JD: Well, I would if I’m asking that same question to my friends…at the, you know, White House and, uh, you know, the the folks that cover the White House and the agencies, I think, you know, a couple things that have happened at DHS specifically, they’ve got this new cyber talent management system, and that’s rolled out a little slower than what they imagined they wanted to hire I think about 250 people within the first year. And now we’re almost two years in, and they’re just hitting kind of the 100 person mark. But that will help DHS agencies by allowing them to kind of go outside of the traditional federal hiring process, um, to bring in people, you know, perhaps a higher salary more commensurate with their experience, things like that. And then there’s the special salary rate that, uh, agencies have been developing that have, you know, they finalized and now OPM kind of needs to, I think, give the, uh, marching orders to go forward for all agencies to offer a kind of higher salaries for cyber and IT workers. So specifically, I don’t know what the gap is in terms of like the open positions across government. But if you look at the cyber scope, um, tool that, um, I think I can’t remember who funds it, but it’s, I think it’s NIST.

JW: Yeah.

JD: There’s like 700,000, open, cyber and it positions across the country. And that’s, that’s public and private sector, that’s government and commercial. But that gives you a sense of how big the gap is.

JW: Well, there’s a complex challenge with that, right, the need to skill up fast and the need to skill up smart. How much room for error is there in getting that right?

JD: I think, you know, I think you’re probably going to see a big emphasis on STEM education in this workforce strategy, from what I’ve heard from the folks who have kind of previewed it, that’s coming out of the White House. So I guess you would call that kind of skilling up smart, it’s more of a long term thing, that’s not going to pay off until at least five or 10 years, when these kids who are in you know, you know, whatever level of school start to come into the workforce. And then, I mean, there is this kind of push, though to, there’s always this kind of conversation around upskilling, around taking the folks that you have now and you know, kind of training them on on different aspects of, like more modern technologies like cloud. I think you saw recently that DHS is, you know, considering the establishment of a DHS IT academy. Um, one to when they bring in folks say, hey, here’s how kind of DHS technology works, we’re a little bit behind maybe the commercial sector still, but we’re trying to catch up. And here’s all the different ways we use it, but then also to upskill their current workforce. And so I think there’s probably a pretty balanced conversation around that. But, you know, you’re always going to want to solve your problem, I guess, tomorrow rather than five or 10 years down the line. And so those investments tend to be a little bit more near term. But there’s a balance, I think, to strike there.

JW: Speaking of having a balanced conversation. Let’s see what our listeners had to ask. Christine, what do we have?

CB: Yeah. Good. Thanks. Thanks, Jason. I know, um, glad that you are a co-host today, since you’re, uh, already privy to a lot of these the topics that Justin’s covering, um, but yeah, a couple that our listeners have asked. One is sort of more so about, you know, you’re diving into these topics. And I’m sure you have to talk to a lot of resources and different types of people who are experts in their own right on these topics. How do you go about, ya know, gathering resources and interviewing people when really diving into these topics?

JD: Yeah, so you know, first and foremost, I attend a lot of conferences, both in person and virtually to see the government keynote speakers, to see the panel discussions, to meet people who are working on these issues at agencies. They’re kind of the primary resource for us at Federal News Network. They’re the CIOs or the the the administrators, the folks who are kind of controlling and overseeing these programs directly. And then, you know, we cover, you know, congressional actions that might affect federal agencies. So we talked to folks in Congress, um, folks who are working on the Hill, and you know, probably for your listeners, who are, you know, public affairs, folks who are PR representatives, representing different folks in industry. The most valuable source for me typically in industry is a former Fed.

CB: Mhmm.

JD: Someone who can kind of give you that inside look at you know, CISA just put out this new directive. Here’s a former CISA official explaining, you know, how that might have come together, why it’s important. That’s a that’s a strong perspective, um, to come from and being able to talk to those folks. Obviously, they have a little bit more leeway because they’re no longer in government and they can…

CB: Yeah.

JW: Right.

JD: …explain the ins and outs, they don’t have to go through some lengthy process just to be approved to talk to the media. So those former feds are, uh, really strong sources for me.

CB: Yeah, I’m sure. How do you prefer to be pitched with those types of experts?

JD: Yeah, I think, you know, first and foremost, I’m sure your listeners have heard this before, I don’t really pay attention to product pitches.

CB: Yeah.

JD: Even if there is like a former Fed attached to it, you know, I might kind of take note of that and be like, oh, this person could be interesting to talk to you. But I just honestly don’t write about products or services that contractors or companies are offering. Um, you know, I might write about the one off contract every now and then. But that really depends on kind of the, um, combination of kind of the size of the contract, the importance to the agency, and the maybe uniqueness of what it is, if that makes sense.

CB: Mhmm.

JD: But again, that’s kind of a one off. So I prefer to be pitch just, you know, someone who’s clearly kind of read my work, even if it’s just one or one or two stories, just kind of hey, saw you cover this recently, I think I have someone who could offer an interesting perspective on that issue is someone who, again, is maybe a former Fed, but even if not explain what that perspective might be. And it you know, it can’t really be tied to, you know, the specific company that they work for anything like that, more just interested in what they have to say about this policy or new program that’s coming out of government. So, if you can, if you can kind of demonstrate that you’ve read some of, like the past work, or what we do you know, what we do at FNN, I’ll always appreciate that. And if you have a former Fed, who can talk about something that they maybe have worked on in the past, or have a good perspective on, I love that as well.

CB: Yeah, very fair. Love that. And I think that would be helpful.

JW: Absolutely.

CB: With this other question, I think we we definitely talked about the first half of it, but I’m curious as to the second half. So the question is, what do you think are the three most compelling topics in the federal market for the next 18 months? I think we covered a lot of those, but you know, what are you tired of hearing about?

JW: [laughs]

JD: That is a great question.

CB: I think that’s a great way to flip it!

JD: Yeah, yeah absolutely. So I mean, first and foremost, CMMC, you know, that’s just become such a long drawn out program, I get a lot of pitches on that. And most of them aren’t very interesting or pertinent, unfortunately. I mean, it’s no, it’s, you’ve got a lot of companies that are interested in kind of playing in that space, and they want to get their names out there. But I’m more just interested in developments with the program as they, as they come out a long drawn out program. And yeah, I just get way too many pitches about CMMC. So if you can kind of if you have a pitch on CMMC, just try to think about, you know, not interested in talking to your person who’s going to just say, why comply, why CMMC is important. Everybody knows why CMMC is important at this point. Maybe if they can offer an interesting perspective on like, oh, this, you know, are we still waiting for the rule, but there’s this new, interesting kind of data point out there about, you know, defense, industrial based cybersecurity, that’s, that’s kind of interesting, like, [inaudible] there’s a gap there. You know, I don’t know, something along those lines beyond just like CMMC is important. We all know why. And then the other thing is, is zero trust.

JW: There it is, there it is.

JD: That’s a tough one because yeah, you know, I think just talking about zero trust for zero trust sake, as a concept is tired at this point. Everybody kind of knows what it is generally. They know, you know, why the federal government is adopting, again, why it’s important, um, and I think at this point, the interesting thing about zero trust is probably the different use cases that are happening. Federal agencies, you know, what kind of struggles agencies might be having in that specific space, but again, you know, we write we hear so much about it, it’s I’m probably not going to write a story just solely based around someone reaching out and saying, Hey, there’s this new zero trust product, I definitely not going to do that. It it, but if you have someone who, and this is a rule across all topics, if you don’t expect if you didn’t come in without me, expecting me to write kind of like an initial story, just talking to someone. [coughs] Excuse me, who’s interesting, who has an interesting perspective on the federal government’s adoption of something like zero trust, I’m happy to talk to them for 10-15 minutes and just kind of develop that relationship to go forward not not necessarily just do a one off story on a company or product in that space.

JW: Certainly.

CB: That’s great. Yeah, that’s fair.

JW: Relationship building really is more important to you to get off the ground. Is that right?

JD: I think that’s huge. That’s, that’s really the main thing. And you know, like I said, CISA and different agencies are publishing these new cybersecurity policies all the time, these just different programs are coming out all the time. They put out a press release, but then they don’t say much else.

JW: Hm.

JD: It’s interesting to have a different voice in there to maybe offer some analysis on it. And that’s how I develop that relationship and and get those sources is, you know, being able to talk to someone, um, consistently about those topics.

JW: It’s critical.

CB: Yeah. Well, I think we could we could definitely talk to you all day, Justin. But let’s, I think we have time for one more question. Jason, do you have something pressing, you’d like to ask?

JW: In fact, I do. And it comes from a survey that your editorial staff recently posed with regard to return to work, and the policies that are being implemented, or change for federal employees. That survey closed a few weeks ago, and is set to be released soon keep an eye out for very engaging survey from Federal News Network on the horizon. But I want to see how you felt about this in particular, because you when you joined Federal News Network, it was the height of COVID. And you were still very much if not completely remote, now that it has evolved into an hybrid structure and then gone a bit more into a a staggered return. How has that impacted your reporting, and your relationship, even among your colleagues, when so much collaboration and creativity is cultivated in the newsroom? How has it changed your profession?

JD: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of conversations about this at Federal News Network. You know, yeah. When I first started in 2021, I was, um, actually going into the office for training. But most other people weren’t there, almost at all. Um, you know, it’s, it’s been good to have the flexibility. We have we do we have the radio side, obviously, but we have all this equipment so that we can totally do that remote and in fact, we have some people who are fully remote in different parts of the country for various reasons, who are who work at FNN. And so yeah, having the flexibility to kind of do a lot of this from home to cover events from home because so many events have shifted to kind of a hybrid or totally virtual format, that’s been fantastic. And allows you to cover a lot more to not waste so much time going to and fro, um, all the things you hear about a lot. And so thankfully, our company has been pretty flexible. Like if you can get your job done from home, you can stay at home, there’s no mandate to come into the office. But at the same time, we have a pretty good studio, we have a good, uh, you know video, um, we have, we have an actual studio where we shoot some of the events that we host some of the the exchanges. And we find that…

JW: [inaudible]

JD: …yeah, guests love coming into that. It really is great to do those one on one or panel interviews in-person, as opposed to over Zoom, just because you get to have those conversations, kind of build relationships on the side. And it’s just a little bit more personable in general. And then collaborating with coworkers, we have been kind of doing these kinds of monthly, or so, uh, just meetings where we all come in to talk about stories we’re working on, just general challenges that we’re facing and, you know, in journalism, it’s really important to collaborate with your colleagues. Because because obviously, you can come together with a stronger set of sources for a stronger story. You can come up with better ideas, like, Hey, I noticed this thing that’s happening in one part of government and, you know, someone else can be like, oh, yeah, this, this is happening over here, you should think about that. And those types of organic conversations obviously can’t as easily happen over Slack, or in your kind of weekly Zoom meeting.

JW: Yeah.

JD: So, I would say that we’ve hit a really nice balance that we’re constantly striving to strike going forward on flexibility to work from home. It’s it’s great. It’s I can’t imagine ever going back to before COVID but also building opportunities to come together and collaborate kind of in office and just you know, get to know each other better and, and, yeah, it’s great to see your coworkers in person every now and then as I’m sure you guys can appreciate.

CB: Yes, definitely.

JW: That we do. And keep an eye out for that survey to be released by FNN in the coming weeks should have some really interesting data to dive through. Justin, we can’t thank you enough for joining us here today. It’s been a fascinating conversation and a great in-depth look at your career, your history and the way you view public sector. Christine, I want to thank you for letting me join you to go Inside the Media Mind with Justin Doubleday. Thank you.

CB: Thank you. I’m so glad that you join us as a co-host, Jason, it was fun. And Justin, seriously, thank you so much. It was so insightful to hear from you and about your background and some of these topics that you’re covering.

JD: I really appreciate the time, guys. And, uh, yeah I think you have a great podcast here. It’s really cool to hear from some of my fellow reporting colleagues about how they think about things as well. So thanks for having me.

CB: Absolutely and thank you for everyone who tuned into this episode of Inside the Media Minds. We’ll see you next time.  Thank you for joining us on today’s episode of Inside the Media Minds. To learn more about our podcast and hear all of our episodes, please visit us at and follow us on Twitter @Media Minds Show, and you can subscribe anywhere podcasts are found.