PBS announced July 12 that eight of its documentary films and Frontline’s new fall promotional campaign were nominated for a record nine News & Documentary Emmy Awards for this TV show’s groundbreaking reports on political, social and criminal justice issues. Frontline has been a PBS TV staple each Tuesday evening at 10/9c since 1983; thus far producing more than 500 television documentaries that are today viewed as the gold standard for trusted TV journalism. In turn, most corporate network TV journalism has morphed into something dubbed as “cosmetic journalism” where TV presenters such as Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” program earns a record $ 25 million per year to “read” scripted reports off a teleprompter. At the same time, “Frontline” is produced using real seasoned TV and film journalists - who often go in harm’s way to research their reports that involve in-depth reporting conducted over many months and even years – and thus are rewarded with more Emmy nominations in the News & Documentary category than any of the powerful corporate news networks that simply do not report the same caliber of television journalism as does Frontline week after week.
Frontline honored with 9 Emmy nominations
What makes a PBS “Frontline” TV different than the corporate “cosmetic or entertainment journalism” featured on most networks today is the subject matter, explains Ofra Bikel who has been a producer for Frontline since its first season.
Thus, Bikel will tell you that most of today’s TV networks will not report Frontline’s “style” of spotlighting such things as flaws in the U.S. criminal justice system, the use of drug snitches, or this past week’s “Endgame” report on AIDS in black America.
So while corporate TV networks “play it safe,” by producing more celebrity-focused television than real documentaries on America’s many social and cultural issues, the July 12 announcement that this one tight-budgeted “Frontline” TV show has earned a record nine Emmy nominations is “remarkable,” says Eugene based journalist Steven who adds: “Frontline is the go to TV show for what’s really happening in the country today. They don’t rely on the big ad revenue like the corporate networks; and that means they don’t owe anyone anything but the truth in reporting.”
For instance, the award-winning Frontline report “Hunting Bin Laden,” is now a “textbook” example of good TV journalism; with this and other Frontline TV reports that followed the September 11 terrorist attacks now viewed as the most comprehensive and useful for Americans trying to understand this complex story of America’s War on Terrorism.
Thus, Frontline doesn’t answer to those corporate interest groups that purchase millions of dollars of ads on corporate TV to get a “select message out to America;” since “Frontline is a public affairs television program that’s produced at WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts and distributed through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that is supported by contributions from the American people.
Frontline’s award winning TV shows honored
The July 12 announcement that “Frontline” has again been selected as the top TV news documentary program with a record nine nominations; includes these recent Frontline TV programs:
-- “Revolution in Cairo” and “Syria Undercover” was both nominated for Emmy’s for “outstanding coverage of a breaking news story in a news magazine” category; with Frontline dispatching teams to Cairo and Syria to produce these special reports for the American people.
-- “The Child Cases” earned an Emmy nomination in the “outstanding investigative journalism in a news magazine” category for Frontline’s recent report on sudden child deaths that are often assumed to be murder; and caregivers are frequently the accused.
-- “WikiSecrets” also earned an Emmy nomination in the “outstanding continuing coverage of a new story – long form” category for an inside story of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and the largest intelligence breach in U.S. history.
-- “A Perfect Terrorist” earned an Emmy nomination in the “outstanding investigative journalism – long form” category when a Frontline team joined with ProPublica to investigate the mysterious circumstances behind David Headley’s rise from heroin dealer and U.S. government informant to plotter of the 2008 attack on Mumbai.
-- “The Anthrax Files” also earned an Emmy nomination for the “outstanding investigative journalism” category with Frontline teaming up with ProPublica and McClatchy to investigate the country’s most notorious act of bioterrorism.
-- “The Interrogator” was another Emmy nominated Frontline program from this past year in the “outstanding interview” category with an interview with Ali Soufan, the FBI agent at the center of the 9/11 investigation.
Overall, Frontline producers say that receiving a record nine Emmy nominations for producing what is now viewed as the gold standard of TV news and documentary journalism is a great honor; with many new “Frontline” reports in the works now. A new report includes a forthcoming Frontline documentary program that looks into presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s overseas bank accounts that have been put off bounds from the American public. Tune into to PBS each Tuesday evening for more “Frontline” TV reports.
Image source of an infant as showcased in the PBS “Frontline” TV documentary from this past year titled “The Child Cases,” that earned an Emmy nomination July 12 for a TV report on sudden child deaths that are often assumed to be murder. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant