Interview with Bryn Mooser of RYOT News - 2015 - CONRAD

Interview with Bryn Mooser of RYOT News - 2015

At Conrad Men’s, we don’t just want to make great tools to help you on your journey, but we also want to share the stories of the men out there that are changing the world, and will hopefully, help inspire you to do the same.

Bryn Mooser is one of these men. Hailed as one of Esquire Magazine’s “2012 Americans of the Year” for his work in Haiti, Bryn is known for his humanitarian work, as well as a film producer. Baseball in The Time of Cholera was produced with Elon Musk and Olivia Wilde and tells the story of a young boy playing baseball in Haiti’s first little league baseball team during the 2010 cholera outbreak. The epidemic killed 2,000 people within the first 30 days. One of his latest films, Body Team 12, follows a team of body collectors during the height of the Ebola crisis in Liberia.  

Bryn in also the Co-Founder of the online news outlet RYOT.

Conrad Men's: I guess let’s start with RYOT. So RYOT, you started this website RYOT News--can you tell us a little bit about the business model of that, like how that works, what the stories are about, and how people can use the website?

Bryn: There’s definitely stories where people can take action right after the story and you know we’re able to go a little bit more into the stories that we turn into documentaries. We’ve got about six documentaries working. We’re very excited about sharing them on the documentary circuit including our film about Ebola [Body Team 12]. We really want to be able to have people dive into the stories if they want to get more involved.

CM: Can you say a little bit about the Ebola film or the cholera movie [Baseball in The Time of Cholera] or how have these movies affected the world? It seems like you’re there doing amazing stories. How does that change how people look at these crisis situations?

Bryn: Well, I think that we always try to paint a human perspective on them – a story of hope, a story of engagement. There's not just this disaster, guilt or pity. We look at these people who are doing extraordinary things. We try to take a different angle I think, than the rest of media often does.

Bryn Mooser

CM: I imagine when you’re going to all these places and you’re doing this work that’s got to be pretty difficult, mentally and emotionally, to deal with. How do you go about handling that?

Bryn: You know luckily I’ve been doing it for awhile, so I think I’ve built up a tolerance, but you know, the work you do is good work and the right work. And if you’re doing the right work, you find strength in that. If you’re bringing...helping to alleviate suffering if you’re showing compassion, leading a life by those values, strength comes from all around you. You know, you’re working harder than you’ve ever worked before in these areas, but you’re not tired. You’re doing a service – that’s a wonderful thing.

CM: Can you talk about your connection with Haiti? I know you spent a lot of time there. Do you spend more time out of the country than you do in the states? What’s your life like these days?

Bryn: Now it’s working to make sure we are writing the best stories and building the team, building the company as we go. Unfortunately, I’m not able to spend as much time in the field as I did before, but that’s sort of the price now. If you want to build something that’s truly meaningful, and you want to build something that has legs and changes the world, you have to make sacrifices and I think the sacrifice that I’ve had to make, is not to be able to spend as much time in the field. But, you know, that’s the price you pay to build something that’s significant.

CM: Do you define yourself as a humanitarian, as an entrepreneur, or how do you define yourself or how do you look at yourself?

Bryn: I think I’m still saying a humanitarian. The word entrepreneur gives me the heebie jeebies! But I think the word humanitarian is right. I take the humanitarian approach to being an entrepreneur, but I certainly would never want to be labeled as an entrepreneur.

CM: I see a lot of change, personally, in the way that the next generation is coming up to where they value experiences, where they want to give back, or they're really getting away from the materialism. How do you think that’s going to affect the world with this new generation that’s coming up and seeing the world in that way?

Bryn: I think we’re entering a real social revolution. I think that we’re so close that we don’t see what’s happening, but if you look at, you know, just the last month, some of these extraordinary strides that we’ve made as a country, as a global society--it’s pretty extraordinary, and I think that the young generation is leading these are cultural shifts that are happening. Whether that’s gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, easing up of drug laws, you know--the strike down of Three Strikes You’re Out, Health Care being passed, Confederate flags being banned--and this is the moment that is happening right now and it’s exciting to be a part of that, certainly as a news organization.

CM: With, you know, with us being in America and all these things happening, how much do you think that influences the rest of the world, because you’re out there, and seeing it firsthand. How does America changing these things affect the way the rest of the world approaches these things?

Bryn: I think that we, you know, we’ve got a huge leading voice around the world. And, we can use that for good or we can use it for bad. But we should, this country, always be trying to lead by example. And, we have an opportunity to do that with climate, and I think we should become leaders and the voice of reason with climate--what’s happening--and how we can take steps to slow it down, and reverse it in some ways. It’s a big task, but we should be leading that. But what we do the rest of the world looks at. I hope that our marriage equality act spreads like wildfire around the world and we should continue with other countries based on principles of freedom. We should be pushing hard and be moral voices to the rest of the world, including allies of us like Saudi Arabia, which still has a culture of keeping women down within their culture. We should use our voice on the global stage. You know, as a leader of the free world, we should be pushing those kinds of ideals that the country is so beautifully built upon.

CM: So what do you say to these kids that are coming up in this generation, especially millennials that maybe don’t have the means to go out and travel the world or make a difference, or can they volunteer for an organization, or how do they get out there and start making a difference in the world?

Bryn: You know, I think that there’s something that every single person can do whether they have a million dollars or zero dollars and the start of that is within people, is within all of us. And for me at least—how do we make sure that we’re leading lives of compassion and kindness? You don’t have to donate to the Red Cross’s relief efforts and disaster refugee camps if you can’t afford it, but you should be kind to the people around you, be compassionate. If you see an opportunity where you can help somebody even if it’s just to mow somebody’s lawn or rake their leaves. To me that’s enough of a way to start because I know that when most people do something kind for somebody, to be of service to other people, that spark--because it feels really good--can ignite a fire within somebody.

CM: And how have these experiences changed you?

Bryn: You know, I don’t know…I’ve become…Everyday no matter how difficult it becomes, I try to keep emboldened to keep fighting the good fight, but it’s really hard at times, difficult and can be tiring and exhausting. But if not us, than who is going to fight it?

 

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More Conrad Men's Interviews:

Elephant Journal Founder Waylon Lewis

Pangea Organics Founder Joshua Onysko



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