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The FRONTLINE Dispatch
24 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent Inside Russia
In the new documentary Putin’s War at Home, FRONTLINE tells the stories of Russian activists and journalists defying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on dissent – from a young woman documenting protests and propaganda on TikTok, to a duo of reporters investigating the Ukraine war’s death toll among Russian soldiers. Director Gesbeen Mohammad joins FRONTLINE’s executive producer and editor-in-chief, Raney Aronson-Rath, to discuss what it took to gather these stories — and what the documentary’s subjects risked by speaking out about the Ukraine war, including arrest and imprisonment. “People were very, very afraid to speak to us,” Mohammad told FRONTLINE. “But I guess that's what makes all of our interviewees and contributors so unique in their braveness.” Putin’s War at Home is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
29 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
Uncovering a Pattern of ‘Strategic Violence’ by Russia in Ukraine
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, FRONTLINE and the Associated Press have been investigating mounting evidence of war crimes. The two organizations’ recent documentary, Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes, found that in many instances the violence was far from random. AP Global Investigative Reporter Erika Kinetz, the documentary’s correspondent, joins The FRONTLINE Dispatch to talk about this months-long collaborative investigation. From reporting on the ground in Ukraine, to piecing together hours of CCTV footage and audio intercepts of Russian soldiers’ conversations, Kinetz spoke with FRONTLINE’s editor-in-chief and executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath about working with FRONTLINE producers to trace the story of one woman’s loss to a larger pattern of strategic violence in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs. “Victim after victim, survivor after survivor would ask the same question, which is: ‘Why? Why did this happen?’” Kinetz said. “It didn't actually dawn on me until near the end of our reporting that there were actually patterns at play in the violence that we were seeing, and there were actually strategies motivating a lot of the violence.” Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video App, and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
25 minutes | Oct 7, 2022
Evictions and the Pandemic
As COVID-19 swept the country in 2020, millions of people in the U.S. were out of work and at risk of being evicted. An unprecedented federal ban on evictions and billions of dollars in rental assistance helped keep people in their homes — but some people were still evicted. In FRONTLINE and Retro Report’s documentary “Facing Eviction,” director Bonnie Bertram and a team of filmmakers from across the country examined why — finding that the effectiveness of pandemic housing protections depended almost entirely on how local officials enforced them. Bertram joined FRONTLINE editor-in-chief and executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath for a conversation about where tenant protections stand now, the process of making “Facing Eviction” and filming with people on the brink of losing their housing. “We started to chronicle these people's lives and, as the months unfolded, saw the desperation and just the precariousness of their situation and this dreaded knock on the door that impacts all parts of their life,” Bertram told Aronson-Rath. Facing Eviction is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video App, and FRONTLINE’s Youtube channel.
34 minutes | Sep 23, 2022
How American Democracy Reached a Moment of ‘Existential Crisis’
As the midterms draw near amid continuing false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, FRONTLINE examines how American democracy reached this point. Veteran filmmaker Michael Kirk joins host Raney Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE’s editor-in-chief and executive producer, for a special live recording of The FRONTLINE Dispatch to discuss what FRONTLINE’s season premiere, Lies, Politics and Democracy, reveals. The two-hour documentary, structured as a countdown to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, illuminates critical decisions that have profoundly undermined faith in the electoral process, leading to what journalist Tim Alberta says in the film is an “existential crisis for the United States of America." Kirk discusses a series of "inflection points" in which Republican leaders embraced the rhetoric of Donald Trump even as warning signs mounted. "This was the leadership agreeing to be silent,” Kirk says, “agreeing to think they were gonna manipulate him, and then being manipulated themselves." Lies, Politics and Democracy is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
36 minutes | Sep 8, 2022
The Disconnect: Season 2, Episode 1: The Toll
In the first episode of Season 2 of The Disconnect, a podcast all about the Texas blackout of February 2021 from FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative partner, the Texas Newsroom, and Austin public radio station KUT, host Mose Buchele and colleagues examine the blackout’s impact on one Texas family, and the accuracy of the state’s official death count. The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
24 minutes | Sep 8, 2022
Investigating the Texas Blackout
In February 2021, a powerful winter storm led to power outages — and an official tally of more than 200 deaths — across Texas. The Disconnect, a podcast from FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative partner, the Texas Newsroom, and Austin public radio station KUT, investigatess the aftermath of the storm and the state’s response. KUT’s Mose Buchele, Senior Correspondent for Energy & Environment, joins The FRONTLINE Dispatch to talk about the state’s unique power grid, the deadly consequences when it failed and trying to hold officials accountable. “At the end of the day,” Buchele said, “this is a system that seems sometimes intentionally set up to diffuse responsibility.” Season 2 of The Disconnect, which is supported by FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, is available at KUT and other streaming platforms. Want to be notified every time a new FRONTLINE Dispatch podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
29 minutes | Aug 11, 2022
Searching for Afghanistan’s Missing Women
After U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan last year and the Taliban swept into power, FRONTLINE correspondent Ramita Navai and colleagues traveled the country, investigating the Taliban regime’s treatment of women. The resulting documentary, Afghanistan Undercover, revealed the harrowing realities women faced in Afghanistan. In this episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, Navai talked with FRONTLINE executive producer and editor-in-chief Raney Aronson-Rath about reporting a story the Taliban didn’t want told, including secretly filming on the grounds of a prison in Herat, Afghanistan, where women said they were being held without trial. “We needed that evidence,” Navai said. “We heard what was happening. We needed to see it for ourselves.” Afghanistan Undercover is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
26 minutes | Jul 29, 2022
J. Michael Luttig and Adam Kinzinger on Democracy and January 6
Congressional hearings into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol have concluded for the summer after weeks of testimony. Among the key witnesses to appear before the committee was J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and renowned conservative legal scholar. On this special edition of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, listen to excerpts from an extensive interview with Luttig, as well as with U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of only two Republicans on the House select committee investigating January 6. The interviews with J. Michael Luttig and Rep. Adam Kinzinger are available online in full as part of FRONTLINE's Transparency Project. These interviews were conducted by producer Mike Wiser and the Kirk Documentary Group for FRONTLINE’s upcoming documentary Lies, Politics, and Democracy.
4 minutes | Jul 18, 2022
Coming soon: The Disconnect, Season 2
Coming August 4, 2022 from FRONTLINE's partners in the Local Journalism Initiative, KUT/KUTX Studios, season two of The Disconnect: Power, Politics and the Texas Blackout. In February 2021, days-long blackouts in Texas left millions of people shivering in the dark. Hundreds died. And it exposed the failures of the nation's only independent power grid. More than a year later, the lights have stayed on, but problems persist. So how has the Texas grid changed? And how has it changed how people think about this infrastructure that used to be invisible to them? Available August 4th on KUT.org and wherever you get your podcasts.
31 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
Maria Ressa on Journalism and Democracy in the Philippines (re-release)
On June 30, 2022, the Philippines inaugurates a new president: — Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who ruled for a time under martial law and was overthrown in 1986. Marcos Jr., also known as Bongbong Marcos, was voted into office in a May 2022 landslide victory alongside vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte, daughter of the outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte. In 2021, as the race was heating up, FRONTLINE executive producer and host of The FRONTLINE Dispatch Raney Aronson-Rath sat down with Maria Ressa: a winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, founder of the independent Philippine news site Rappler and the subject of FRONTLINE's January 2021 documentary "A Thousand Cuts." Along with the documentary’s director, Ramona S. Diaz, Ressa talked about disinformation, the importance of press freedom, and what she and Diaz were seeing on the ground in the Philippines during the historic campaign season. "A Thousand Cuts" is streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Explore more reporting related to the documentary on FRONTLINE’s website: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/a-thousand-cuts/ Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/dispatch-newsletter-subscription/
26 minutes | Jun 16, 2022
A 1967 Murder and a ‘Reckoning’ with the Truth
American Reckoning, a feature-length documentary from FRONTLINE and Retro Report, traces the life and death of Wharlest Jackson Sr., a 'foot soldier' of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The film explores the history of Black resistance in his hometown, Natchez, Mississippi, as well as his family’s decades-long struggle for justice. Host Raney Aronson-Rath sits down with Dawn Porter, her fellow executive producer on both the American Reckoning documentary and FRONTLINE's Un(re)solved initiative, as well as American Reckoning directors Brad Lichtenstein and Yoruba Richen. Un(re)solved is a multiplatform investigation that tells the stories of lives cut short and examines a federal effort to grapple with America’s legacy of racist killings through the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. Along with the documentary American Reckoning, Un(re)solved comprises a web-based interactive experience, a serialized podcast and an augmented-reality installation. You can watch American Reckoning and experience the rest of Un(re)solved here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/unresolved/ Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/dispatch-newsletter-subscription/
26 minutes | Jun 3, 2022
Covering Minneapolis in the Wake of George Floyd
Since the murder of George Floyd two years ago, FRONTLINE's local journalism partner the Star Tribune has chronicled the aftermath of that pivotal event — from the protests that spread globally, to documenting the trial and murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, to ongoing struggles for police accountability and reform in Minneapolis. The new documentary “Police on Trial,” from FRONTLINE and the Star Tribune, draws on unique on-the-ground reporting and filming to examine the police department at the center of the story. In this new episode of "The FRONTLINE Dispatch," Star Tribune Editor Suki Dardarian in Minneapolis joins FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath to discuss the newsroom’s Pulitzer-winning reporting and “Police on Trial.” "Police on Trial" is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/dispatch-newsletter-subscription/
17 minutes | May 19, 2022
Pulitzer Winner Corey G. Johnson on Tampa’s Lead Problem (re-release)
For years, hundreds of workers at the Gopher Resource lead smelting plant in Florida were exposed to dangerous levels of lead in the air. “Poisoned,” a series from the Tampa Bay Times, in collaboration with FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, uncovers the consequences of what happened. Times reporters Corey G. Johnson, Rebecca Woolington and Eli Murray gained access to thousands of pages of regulatory reports, company documents and employee medical records. In March 2021, Johnson joined FRONTLINE’s executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath, on The FRONTLINE Dispatch to discuss the project and what the reporters found after months of investigating. This year, Johnson and his collegues were awarded a Pultizer Prize in Investigative Reporting for the project. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/dispatch-newsletter-subscription/
26 minutes | May 4, 2022
Inside Big Oil’s Push Against Climate Change Action
The fossil fuel industry cast doubt on climate change for decades, even as the scientific evidence grew stronger and the warnings more dire. In this episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, investigative reporter Russell Gold joins executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath to discuss FRONTLINE’s new three-part documentary series, The Power of Big Oil, and the role of the fossil fuel industry in delaying action on climate change. Gold, a senior editor at Texas Monthly, served as an editorial consultant on the docuseries. The author of two books, he previously spent nearly 20 years reporting on energy for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered stories including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and California’s 2018 Camp Fire. All three episodes of The Power of Big Oil are now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/dispatch-newsletter-subscription/
30 minutes | Apr 15, 2022
The Making of an Election Myth
More than a year after President Joe Biden's inauguration, around two-thirds of Republican voters believe his election was illegitimate. How did a stolen election myth make its way to the center of American politics? Director and producer Samuel Black and correspondent A.C. Thompson, part of the team behind the 2022 FRONTLINE and ProPublica documentary "Plot to Overturn the Election," sit down with FRONTLINE’s executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath, to discuss how a handful of people have had an outsized impact on the current U.S. crisis of democratic legitimacy. The legacy of misinformation extends beyond the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Black and Thompson found. “How is the ongoing battle over the last election threatening the next one?” Thompson asks in the documentary. "Plot to Overturn the Election" is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/dispatch-newsletter-subscription/
27 minutes | Mar 11, 2022
Julia Ioffe on Putin's Road to War
Journalist Julia Ioffe recently sat down with producer Mike Wiser for the March 2022 FRONTLINE documentary “Putin’s Road to War.” In this episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, we hear an excerpt of that interview, in which Ioffe discusses Russian President Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine and how he, and the world, reached this tipping point. “What he has opened up with this invasion is unthinkable,” Ioffe tells FRONTLINE. “And because he is losing, and because the sanctions and the Ukrainians are humiliating him, because he is backed into a corner, he is the most dangerous he has ever been, because it is now existential for him.” Julia Ioffe is an American journalist who was born in Russia. She is a writer for and a founding partner of the media company Puck. She previously reported on politics and world affairs for the Atlantic and other publications. This interview, conducted on March 3, 2022, has been edited for clarity and length. “Putin's Road to War” premieres Tuesday, March 15 on PBS and will be available to stream on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new FRONTLINE podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
31 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
A Conversation with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Maria Ressa
Journalist Maria Ressa, a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the subject of the documentary A Thousand Cuts, joined director Ramona S. Diaz and FRONTLINE’s executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath, for a special conversation prior to the Nobel ceremony. Ressa and her fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov are the first journalists to receive the prestigious award since 1935. Ressa and her staff at the independent news site Rappler in the Philippines have been at the forefront of reporting on both President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war and the rapid-fire spread of online disinformation in support of Duterte. A Thousand Cuts chronicled how Ressa and Rappler became top targets in Duterte’s crackdown on the news media — and how Ressa vowed to “hold the line” in the face of numerous court actions and online harassment. With Ressa now a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her efforts, she joins Diaz and Aronson-Rath to discuss disinformation, the importance of journalism and press freedom, the future of democracy in the Philippines, why she believes the world is in the midst of “a global rise in fascism” similar to the last time a journalist won a Nobel Peace Prize, and how “we need to make sure facts survive.” “When you live in a world without facts, you can't have truth. You can't have trust,” she says. “And when you don't have that, your shared reality is torn apart.” A Thousand Cuts is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. After Philippine distributors and TV broadcasters did not license the film, FRONTLINE secured full streaming rights in the country so that it would be available for the Philippine public to view via FRONTLINE’s platforms. Want to be notified every time a new FRONTLINE podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
28 minutes | Dec 2, 2021
What the Pandora Papers Reveal
In October 2021, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — with 150 partner news organizations around the world, including FRONTLINE — began publishing the results of an investigation based on a massive leak of confidential documents. The leaked files, known as the Pandora Papers, exposed a secretive financial system that enables the world’s wealthy and powerful to hide their money and assets from creditors, taxing authorities and governments. The revelations have reverberated across the globe. In this episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch podcast, FRONTLINE producer Evan Williams and ICIJ reporter Will Fitzgibbon, both featured in the November 2021 short documentary Pandora Papers, from ICIJ and FRONTLINE, join FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath to discuss some of the investigation’s key findings, the ongoing impacts, and the importance of global reporting collaborations. “The basic principle of ICIJ really is one of journalistic equality, I think. Recognizing that the smartest reporter in New York City or Washington D.C., is never going to have the experience or the ability to find a story in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or in the Philippines, right?" Fitzgibbon says. "And that's why we provide access to the data and bring on reporters from more than 100 countries. Because we know that, hidden in these documents, are only stories the reporters from those countries can tell." The Pandora Papers documentary is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. Want to be notified every time a new FRONTLINE podcast episode drops? Sign up for The FRONTLINE Dispatch newsletter.
28 minutes | Nov 11, 2021
The Federal Reserve’s Big Experiment
As the U.S. Federal Reserve and its chair, Jerome Powell, confront concerns over inflation and the impact of the Fed’s pandemic-era policies, we take a deep dive into the country’s central bank, which financial journalist Dion Rabouin calls “the most powerful and least understood institution in the country.” James Jacoby, a producer of the FRONTLINE documentary “The Power of the Fed,” and Rabouin, who was featured in the film, join FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath for a conversation about how the Fed’s actions to avert crisis when COVID struck were the latest chapter in an experiment the Fed began after the 2008 crash — one that has dramatically changed the American economy. Jacoby and Rabouin explore criticisms that, while well-intentioned, the Fed’s efforts have contributed to wealth inequality and helped today’s financial world grow far removed from the real-world economy. “The Federal Reserve has taken on a much more active role in trying to manage our economy, basically, since the financial crisis in 2008-2009,” Jacoby tells Aronson-Rath. “And then the experimental policies that they put into gear at that point really never left us. … it's led to all sorts of unforeseen, unintended consequences that we're all contending with now.” “The Power of the Fed” is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.
28 minutes | Oct 28, 2021
How Boeing's Flawed 737 Max Made It Into the Air
What did Boeing know about the potential for disaster with its 737 Max passenger jet, and when did the company know it? Tom Jennings, director of the FRONTLINE/New York Times documentary “Boeing’s Fatal Flaw,” and Times reporter David Gelles detail what their findings reveal about the lead-up to the two 737 Max plane crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people. In conversation with FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath, Jennings and Gelles discuss what they learned about the technical issues with Boeing’s fastest-selling commercial jet, as well as how market pressures, corporate culture and failed regulatory oversight ushered a plane with a fatal design flaw into commercial service. Jennings and Gelles also discuss what’s changed since the crashes — and how they’d each feel about walking onto a Boeing plane now. The documentary “Boeing’s Fatal Flaw” is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS Video app and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.
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