Grant to Frontline will create its first desk, to oversee news collaborations

Frontline is spending $1.5 million to bolster its ability to manage its news collaborations, which are growing in number as well as importance. Raney Aronson, deputy executive producer, said the investigative showcase will establish a four-person collaboration desk through a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Philadelphia-based Wyncote Foundation. She tapped Frontline’s series budget for matching funds for the desk, which will also concentrate on transmedia efforts. “The way we do journalism has changed,” Aronson told Current. “Frontline is no longer simply a documentary series on a Tuesday night.” More than half of the films and online reports produced by Frontline are done in collaboration with kindred organizations such as the New York Times, NPR, the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica and, more recently, Spanish-language network Univision.

Arun Rath joins NPR as Weekend ATC host

Frontline and PRI’s The World reporter Arun Rath will join NPR in late September to host Weekend All Things Considered, which is relocating to NPR’s Los Angeles studios. Rath currently covers national security and military justice for Frontline, where he has worked since 2005. He wrote and produced three films for the doc series, with the most recent looking into war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. Marines in Iraq. Rath also reports on music for the PBS series Sound Tracks. Before joining Frontline, Rath worked as a producer for NPR’s On the Media and was a senior editor for Public Radio International’s Studio 360.

Pubradio contenders dominate radio division of Sigma Delta Chi Awards

Public radio reporters took all nine awards for radio reporting in this year's Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize outstanding reporting on radio, TV and the Web by national and local news organizations. NPR’s Ina Jaffe, Quinn O’Toole and Steven Drummond won for breaking news reporting (network syndication) for “Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals.” For investigative reporting, John Ryan and Jim Gates of KUOW in Seattle were cited among stations in markets 1–100 for “Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear ‘Crushed Like a Beer Can,’” while Sandy Hausman of WVTF and Radio IQ in Roanoke, Va., won in the 101+ market category for “Naming the Fralin,” about naming the University of Virginia Art Museum. In the feature categories, Linda Lutton, Cate Cahan and Sally Eisele of Chicago’s WBEZ won for “The weight of the city's violence, on one school principal,” and Lance Orozco of KCLU in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for “My Cancer.”

NPR's State of the Re:Union, co-distributed by Public Radio Exchange, won the syndicated documentary award for “As Black as We Wish to Be,” which explored an Appalachian foothills town in Ohio where residents who look white identify as African-American; it was reported and produced by Lu Olkowski, Laura Spero, Taki Telonidis and Al Letson. Alabama Public Radio’s “Winds of Change,” coverage by Pat Duggins, Ryan Vasquez, Maggie Martin and Stan Ingold of a Tuscaloosa tornado, won for smaller-market documentary. The public service in radio journalism winners were “If it's legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” by the staff of Seattle’s KPLU (markets 1–100); Charles Lane and Naomi Starobin of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., for “State struggled at fire prevention ahead of Manorville blaze.”

In the television categories, San Francisco’s KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for large-market (1–50) documentary for “Heat and Harvest,” a report on the effect of climate change on California agriculture by Mark Schapiro, Serene Fang, Gabriela Quiros and Craig Miller.


Scarce funding limits public media’s response to gun debate

The mass shootings last year in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut reawakened Americans to recurring tragedies of gun violence and rekindled a national debate about gun control — one that public radio and television have chronicled and analyzed through ongoing programs and the package of special broadcasts that aired on PBS last month.

PBS programs capture three WGAW Awards

The Writers Guild of America, West's prize in the children’s–episodic and specials category went to Christine Ferraro for writing Sesame Street’s “The Good Sport.” Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria won the award in the documentary–current events arena for writing the first episode of the Frontline four-part series “Money, Power and Wall Street.” And in the documentary–other than current events category, Randall MacLowry won the award for writing “The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time” for Nova. Founded in 1933, WGAW is a labor union representing writers of movies, television, radio and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. The awards were presented Feb. 17 in Los Angeles.