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The FRONTLINE Dispatch

Author: FRONTLINE PBS, WGBH

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An award-winning, original, investigative series made by the team behind the acclaimed PBS documentary show, FRONTLINE. From the long and deadly arm of 9/11, to a police shooting in West Virginia with a startling twist, to what life is really like for children living in a Kenyan refugee camp, each episode follows a different reporter through an investigation that sometimes is years in the making. The FRONTLINE Dispatch – because some stories are meant to be heard.

Produced at FRONTLINE’s headquarters at WGBH in Boston and powered by PRX.

The FRONTLINE Dispatch is made possible by the Abrams Foundation Journalism Initiative.
20 Episodes
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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.
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.
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.
The Boy in the Caravan

The Boy in the Caravan

2019-02-0700:31:002

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.
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.
Update: Living With Murder

Update: Living With Murder

2019-01-1000:15:263

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.
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.
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.
KIDS' SPECIAL: Muzamil's Day

KIDS' SPECIAL: Muzamil's Day

2018-12-2700:24:002

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
The Weight of Dust

The Weight of Dust

2018-12-1300:53:007

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.  
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.
Coming November 29th

Coming November 29th

2018-11-1400:01:34

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.
Living With Murder: Part Two

Living With Murder: Part Two

2017-11-2200:41:3912

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.
Living With Murder: Part One

Living With Murder: Part One

2017-11-1600:49:127

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.
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.
Notes from an Invisible War

Notes from an Invisible War

2017-10-2600:18:366

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.
The Housing Fix

The Housing Fix

2017-10-1200:44:487

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.
Boom Town

Boom Town

2017-09-2800:37:154

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
Child Marriage in America

Child Marriage in America

2017-09-1400:52:5221

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. 
Coming September 14th

Coming September 14th

2017-09-0500:02:236

Some stories are meant to be heard. A new narrative podcast from the producers and reporters of the PBS investigative documentary series FRONTLINE. New episodes biweekly. Subscribe now.
Comments (6)

Michael Ronan

mormon?

May 1st
Reply

Andy Laurenzi

why not look into code regulations. some towns have no code requirements and seem to do fine. is there any flexilbility on code based on income. codes are necessary but largely inflexible and bound by bureaucrats in bureaucracy

Dec 31st
Reply

Hudithi

Full of forgery and twisting facts. Sad music in background with a voice full of falsifications of reality are not helping the Yemenis ppl case.

Nov 3rd
Reply

WatchDawg

it is the end of the story, at least the end of listening to your waffle.

Jun 23rd
Reply

WatchDawg

You folks seem to try and sound like there is a fair balance to each story. It's like you are liars.

Jun 23rd
Reply

Dolores Millay

Loved the in-depth investigation into child marriage in the U.S. Eager for future episodes.

Sep 15th
Reply
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