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June 23, 2020
How a drug company made millions pushing an opioid painkiller up to 100x stronger than heroin, as many on Wall Street looked the other way. FRONTLINE filmmaker Tom Jennings and Financial Times reporter Hannah Kuchler discuss their new investigation of Insys Therapeutics — from a jaw-dropping interview with a former sales director who admits to bribing doctors to prescribe the highly addictive drug Subsys, to how Wall Street propelled Insys’ success even as questions emerged about its practices, to what role drug companies’ pursuit of profits hasplayed in the opioid crisis: “I think that it's really interesting just how people are able to disconnect their actions from the consequences, especially in business,” Kuchler says. With federal prosecutors using laws designed to catch mob bosses, Insys would ultimately become the first pharmaceutical company to have its top executives sentenced to prison time in connection with the opioid epidemic. For more on Insys’ spectacular rise and fall — and its consequences — watch the documentary Opioids, Inc. from FRONTLINE and the FT, and read our in-depth joint reporting — also available at  ft.com/insys.
June 12, 2020
Days before an expected verdict in her trial, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa speaks out about reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal drug war — and then becoming a high-profile target of his government’s crackdown on the press.   As she faces potential prison time on cyber libel charges, the co-founder and CEO of the independent Philippine news site Rappler tells FRONTLINE how she’s preparing, discusses her reporting on Duterte, and says that her conviction about what she does is undaunted: “I'm just walking forward, step by step by step, certain in the values and the principles that we are following and knowing that we are doing the right thing.” For more on Duterte’s drug war, watch FRONTLINE’s On the President’s Orders. And for more from Ressa, read FRONTLINE’s interview with her for The Facebook Dilemma, in which she discusses her reporting on how Duterte weaponized the platform to target his critics and spread disinformation. Plus: Stay tuned for the forthcoming documentary A Thousand Cuts, featuring Ressa’s story, which will see a summer theatrical release and a fall FRONTLINE broadcast.
June 2, 2020
As streets across America erupt into clashes over racism during the coronavirus pandemic, Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd's death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans: "the thing that ties them together is empirical evidence of a phenomenon that had been dismissed otherwise.”  Cobb describes how the relationship between black Americans and the police has become a "barometer" for race relations in the country, drawing on his years of covering explosive tensions that he says are “overwhelmingly” in response to an issue of police use of force. "…Once you looked at the way that policing functioned, it was almost an indicator of the way lots of other institutions were functioning in those communities.” And yet, he says that this time — as the nation battles a highly infectious outbreak — the outrage is spreading in a way that seems different. For more from Jelani Cobb and FRONTLINE, watch 2016's "Policing the Police": now streaming on YouTube, on the PBS Video App and online.
May 28, 2020
As COVID-19 has spread, so, too, have misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus — amplified by figures like Alex Jones, and proliferating on social media and even at the highest levels of government. Veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk, who was already making a documentary about the rise of conspiracy theories in American politics when the pandemic hit, shares what he’s learned about how such  theories have become central to understanding the nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. .”There's been a concerted effort, now that everything is moved from the fringe to the center, to knock down knowledge-based information,” Michael says. “And all of a sudden, a large number of Americans simply do not believe what they're being told. And that's where we find ourselves now.”
May 16, 2020
In the Bronx, as the coronavirus is disproportionately killing black and Latino people, COVID-19 is swelling the ranks of the dead — and also upending how loved ones grieve. Reporter Anjali Tsui goes inside a family-owned funeral home in the NYC borough to discover the outbreak's toll on the community. As one grieving woman reflects, "When people die, they need to be celebrated and there is no celebration of life right now. It’s like people are just disappearing."
May 2, 2020
As COVID-19 ran rampant through the adult care facility, family members struggled to learn the truth of how the coronavirus outbreak was hitting their loved ones. Reporter Joaquin Sapien takes us inside the story of a daughter’s midnight rescue of her father from Queens Adult Care Center, which he says is in an area that became “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the outbreak in New York. Natasha Roland describes rushing her father from the facility to a hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19 — though not long before she'd been told he was safe and that the center had no cases. The Queens Adult Care Center, for its part, disputes Roland's account, and says it has taken "extensive precautions to ensure the well-being of each of its residents and employees." Listen to the full story. Queens Adult Care Center was the subject of a story and short film co-published by FRONTLINE and ProPublica in April 2020. Read and watch HERE. Sapien first encountered the facility in reporting he did for FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s 2019 documentary,Right to Fail. Now streaming on the PBS Video App and online.
April 24, 2020
Native American communities were already dealing with underfunded health services. Then the coronavirus outbreak began. Journalist Antonia Gonzales, herself a member of the Native community, reports from New Mexico — where Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribes in the country, has seen a higher rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases than most states. And Gonzales finds that tribes say their requests for federal help are being ignored.
April 17, 2020
What the feud between President Trump and Washington Gov. Inslee reveals about federal-state tensions in the coronavirus fight. In his conversation with Gov. Inslee, FRONTLINE correspondent Miles O’Brien discovers that “what should be a partnership with the federal government is like this hostile relationship.”  Inslee describes a scenario in which states are left competing with each other for scarce resources: “We are searching the world for every potential warehouse that has any of this personal protective equipment… and states are bidding against one another,” he tells O’Brien. “It would be much more efficient, economically and otherwise, if the federal government was playing a more vigorous role.” Listen to the podcast now, and stay tuned for O’Brien’s documentary Coronavirus Pandemic, premiering April 21, which explores the differing responses to the coronavirus outbreak in Washington D.C. and Washington State — where the first known U.S. case of COVID-19 was detected.
April 9, 2020
Inside the Trump administration’s coronavirus response — and missed opportunities to contain COVID-19 before it was too late. Correspondent Martin Smith speaks with global health experts about warnings to the White House that went unheeded, including a health policy expert who said his 2019 study pointing to the threat of a pandemic was met with silence. As he investigates how the crisis unfolded in the U.S., Smith finds: “There's a lot of unknowns as to who dropped the ball and when. It's clear that at the top, and I mean by that the president, the wrong messages were being given.”
April 2, 2020
As schools close to help stem the spread of COVID-19, what happens to kids who rely on school meals to eat? FRONTLINE producer Jezza Neumann reports from Athens, Ohio — where school buses are now delivering meals to students in need. And, as Jezza discovered, some teachers are personally taking meals to those in areas too remote for buses to reach. “Everybody just wants these kids to be fed,” Jezza says. But he’s finding that with each passing week, the coronavirus heightens food scarcity — and the children he speaks with are acutely aware of the risk of hunger that lies before them.
March 27, 2020
To combat COVID-19, Ohio has a “stay at home” order — but what does that mean for families without homes? Filmmaker Ben C. Solomon reports from inside an emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Cincinnati, where he finds that for families already battling poverty, the coronavirus’ toll deepens the struggle. “In just a matter of weeks, most of the opportunities these people had to move out of homelessness — to make money, to get an apartment — those opportunities are going away.”
March 23, 2020
A reporter’s emotional journey back to her homeland in Italy, now the global epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. “I never thought that I would be making a film like this in Italy,” says FRONTLINE correspondent Sasha Achilli. “I feel immensely proud of the way that the Italian doctors are doing everything they can.” Italy’s doctors, she says, are looking at how America is responding now, and finding similarities with how their own country reacted weeks ago. “Doctors [here] are saying, absolutely self-isolate and do it in the interest of yourself. But in the interests of everybody else around you and who you love. Because this is very, very real.”
March 21, 2020
Lessons learned from Seattle — an epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Veteran science reporter and FRONTLINE correspondent Miles O’Brien takes us inside the state where coronavirus was first believed to hit U.S. soil, where he finds, “They’ve put science at the center of their policy, and they’ve let the data drive the decisions.”
March 21, 2019
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte makes his own rules. His war on drugs has led to the deaths of thousands of alleged drug users and dealers. His violent rhetoric and rape jokes have shocked people around the world. Yet he’s hugely popular. Reporter Aurora Almendral delves into what made him the leader he is today. Her investigation starts in his hometown in the Philippines.
March 7, 2019
Terry Allen was 23 when he was arrested for an alleged sexual assault. Although he was never convicted of the crime, Allen was sent to an Illinois prison, where he has remained for nearly four decades with no release date. Across the country, hundreds of people are incarcerated without convictions for the alleged acts that landed them in prison. Reporter Max Green tells the story of one such man. This episode was produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.
February 21, 2019
Millions of Americans can’t afford rent and only a quarter of those who need government help get it. What happens to everyone else? For many, it means they live in squalor. But figuring out who’s responsible is harder than you think. In this episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, NPR correspondent Laura Sullivan heads to Dallas where the city, low income residents and a prominent landlord sometimes described as a slumlord, become the moving pieces in a century-and-a-half old problem. This episode was done in collaboration with NPR. This episode is a rebroadcast and originally aired on October 12, 2017.
February 7, 2019
In a collaboration between PRI’s The World and The FRONTLINE Dispatch, we follow a 15-year-old boy from El Salvador who joined the large migrant caravan last fall and is determined to enter the United States. But his quest is anything but certain. Meanwhile, a loved one is desperately waiting for him on the other side of the border. Reporter Monica Campbell follows his story.
January 24, 2019
In Appalachia, more than 2,000 coal miners are suffering from advanced black lung disease, caused by toxic dust in the mines and part of an epidemic federal regulators failed to prevent. Reporter Howard Berkes spoke with dozens of sick and dying miners with varying stages of the disease about how it has irrevocably changed their lives. For Berkes, the story is a culmination of nearly four decades of reporting on rural America. Today, he shares some of his most intimate interviews with them. Find the full FRONTLINE and NPR investigative documentary here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/coals-deadly-dust/ Produced by NPR’s Investigation Unit.
January 10, 2019
Part Three of the Living With Murder Series. In December 2017, after serving 30 years of his life sentence, Kempis Songster left Graterford Prison on lifetime parole. A lot has happened since then. He now lives in Philadelphia. He’s working, married and became a father.  One year after Reporter/Producer Samantha Broun and Kempis Songster stopped recording their conversations for the Living with Murder series, they return with this series’ update on what Kempis’ life looks like today. This story was produced in collaboration with the public radio website Transom.org.
January 10, 2019
At 15, after committing a brutal murder, Kempis Songster was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But now he has a chance to be free, thanks to a series of recent Supreme Court rulings that found the sentences of thousands of inmates who, like Songster, committed their crimes as juveniles, to be unconstitutional. This episode produced in collaboration with Transom.org.
December 27, 2018
In this special episode for kids, FRONTLINE follows a day in the life of Muzamil, a 12-year-old Somali boy growing up Kenya’s Dadaab Refugee Camp. Producer Bianca Giaever and Reporter Roopa Gogineni bring him questions from American kids about what it’s like growing up in a refugee camp. Are there dentists? A fire department? What is your dreamland? Muzamil takes us through his daily life, answering questions from American kids along the way. This episode was produced in partnership with Firelight Media. You can see pictures of Dadaab, Muzamil, and his friends here: https://to.pbs.org/2CAnQwN
December 13, 2018
Scott Gaines was a first responder on 9/11. When he retired a couple months later, he thought he’d escaped the aftermath unscathed. This time on The FRONTLINE Dispatch, a story about the lasting impacts of 9/11 – told by his daughter, reporter Amy Gaines. This story was produced by Michelle Mizner and Sophie McKibben.
November 29, 2018
A young black man was dead. A young white cop was quickly fired. If that sounds surprising, you don’t know the half of it. This is a shocking story about police and the use of lethal force. Just not the one you might expect. This story was done in collaboration with ProPublica. It was reported by Joe Sexton and produced by Sophie McKibben. You can read an accompanying print piece written by Joe Sexton here.
November 14, 2018
The second season of The FRONTLINE Dispatch launches on November 29th. The FRONTLINE Dispatch comes to you from the producers and reporters of the PBS investigative documentary series FRONTLINE. New episodes biweekly. Subscribe now.
November 22, 2017
At 15, after committing a brutal murder, Kempis Songster was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But now he has a chance to be free, thanks to a series of recent Supreme Court rulings that found the sentences of thousands of inmates who, like Songster, committed their crimes as juveniles, to be unconstitutional. This is Part Two of his story. This episode was a collaboration with Transom.org.
November 16, 2017
At 15, after committing a brutal murder, Kempis Songster was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But now he has a chance to be free, thanks to a series of recent Supreme Court rulings that found the sentences of thousands of inmates who, like Songster, committed their crimes as juveniles, to be unconstitutional. This episode produced in collaboration with Transom.org.
November 9, 2017
There are more than 2,000 people in prisons around the country who were convicted of murder as juveniles and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. But recent Supreme Court decisions have found these sentences unconstitutional and set in motion a process for re-evaluating these “juvenile lifers.”  To close out the first season of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, we have three stories about juvenile lifers. This first is the story of a violent crime committed by a juvenile lifer whose second chance went horribly wrong. It is an intensely personal documentary, but it carries far-reaching implications that extend into public life and into the heart of our political and correctional systems. This piece was produced by Samantha Broun and Jay Allison. It was originally made in 2016 for the public radio website Transom.org. Listen to it here: https://transom.org/2016/a-life-sentence-victims-offenders-justice-and-my-mother/. We are presenting an update to a version that aired later that year on This American Life: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/604/20-years-later.  Next on The FRONTLINE Dispatch: the mini-series continues with two more stories about juvenile life without parole from producers Samantha Broun and Jay Allison.
October 26, 2017
Children describing the sounds that bombs make as they fall. Streets covered with rotting garbage. Doctors and nurses who have gone months without pay, at hospitals struggling to care for an influx of cholera patients and malnourished infants. In Yemen, two-plus years of airstrikes by a coalition being led by Saudi Arabia and receiving weapons and tactical assistance from the United States, have led to what the United Nations has called the “largest humanitarian crisis” in the world. FRONTLINE filmmaker Martin Smith and his team witnessed chaos on a rare trip inside the country, a peek inside a largely invisible war. Few foreign journalists are given permission to enter Yemen. “People are not seeing what’s going on. We’re talking thousands of civilian dead,” said Smith. This story is from correspondent Martin Smith. Michelle Mizner and Sara Obeidat produced this story originally as a short film. They, along with Sophie McKibben, adapted the film for the podcast. Scott Anger recorded the sound in Yemen. The reporting for this story was done as part of an upcoming FRONTLINE special on the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Airing in 2018, the documentary will trace the roots of the Sunni-Shia divide, and explore how a proxy war between the two countries is devastating the Middle East. For more in-depth reporting on the crisis in Yemen – visit pbs.org/frontline.
October 12, 2017
Millions of Americans can’t afford rent and only a quarter of those who need government help get it. What happens to everyone else? For many, it means they live in squalor. But figuring out who’s responsible is harder than you think. In this episode of the FRONTLINE DISPATCH, NPR correspondent Laura Sullivan heads to Dallas where the city, low income residents and a prominent landlord sometimes described as a slumlord, become the moving pieces in a century-and-a-half old problem. This episode was done in collaboration with NPR.
September 28, 2017
In 2016, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit the small town of Cushing, Oklahoma, severely damaging the town. Cushing isn’t the type of place that’s supposed to have such a problem with earthquakes. Until about 2009, they only had one or two a year. But in the last few years, tied to an increased use of wastewater disposal (a by-product of the oil industry) the number of earthquakes has risen dramatically, and now Cushing, along with much of Oklahoma, shakes hundreds of times a year. Cushing is a major hub of American oil — known as “the pipeline crossroads of the world,” the Keystone pipeline and many other major pipelines run beneath it, and above ground, the town stores tens of millions of barrels of oil in its tank farms. Oil is the town’s economic lifeblood, and so the big quake, and the question of who to hold responsible for it, caused real division between neighbors. In this episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, reporter Sandy Tolan goes to Cushing to find out how the earthquakes impact a town built on oil. This story was produced by Jamie York and Sophie McKibben. Find us on the web at pbs.org/frontlinedispatch
September 14, 2017
In the summer after 9th grade, 14-year-old Heather discovered she was pregnant. Her boyfriend Aaron was 24. At the time, marriage seemed like it could be a solution to their problems — and maybe a way to keep Aaron out of jail. In this episode of the FRONTLINE Dispatch, reporter Anjali Tsui and producer Sophie McKibben go inside a battle playing out over child marriage in America. Anjali Tsui is an Abrams Journalism Fellow through the FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships. For more on child marriage in America – visit pbs.org/frontlinedispatch. Editor’s Note: After publication of this episode, the Tennessee Department of Health alerted us to an error in the marriage data they provided to FRONTLINE. According to the department, children as young as 10, 11 and 12 were not given marriage licenses in their state.
September 5, 2017
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