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Classic Investigative Journalism

Reporter, Lowell Bergman.

Lowell Bergman reporting for FRONTLINE/World and the New York Times in Lima, Peru.

Our October 25 episode of FRONTLINE/World prompted two long, favorable reviews in the Denver Post and the New York Sun, both of which welcomed our ongoing commitment to investigative reporting.

"The fascinating story that forms the centerpiece of Tuesday night's
Frontline/World -- The Curse of Inca Gold -- would never have surfaced in the course of a beat reporter's daily life," wrote the Sun's critic David Blum. "But for Lowell Bergman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has made a career of looking for stories where others don't, this saga of intrigue typifies a kind of journalism that threatens to become extinct.

"Mr. Bergman has uncovered a scandal at one of the world's richest gold mines...he has uncovered a battle for control of the mine that reveals astonishing allegations of corruption and bribery."

"The resulting investigation is vintage Bergman -- which means, to students of investigative journalism, just the sort of hard-hitting questions and analysis that defined the classic reporting of CBS News's 60 Minutes in the 1980s and 1990s..."

"While Mr. Bergman doesn't deliver information with the comforting cadences of a seasoned on-camera veteran like Mr. [Mike] Wallace, he somehow manages to be a forceful figure as he wanders regularly into the camera frame, asking tough, clipped questions. The gruff, no-nonsense Mr. Bergman engages in no small talk or casual banter; he's in a hurry to get the truth."

"Frontline/World and Mr. Bergman have nobly maintained a commitment to these kinds of yarns in the face of cutbacks, and the results remind us just how important it is to support their efforts by watching."

"This is classic investigative journalism, the kind that prompts not only thought but change."

"Frontline/World and Mr. Bergman have nobly maintained a commitment to these kinds of yarns in the face of cutbacks, and the results remind us just how important it is to support their efforts by watching."

We were also gratified to see Joanne Ostrow's review in the Denver Post, the newspaper in Newmont Mining's hometown. "'The Curse of Inca Gold' is a dramatic tale about the power of a Third World community over the faraway multinational corporation in a gleaming Denver skyscraper," wrote Ostrow.

Our cameraman Brent McDonald can take a bow since the Post noted that "the visuals elevate" the story.

Ostrow also commended our collaboration with The New York Times -- "...it suggests that two first-rate journalism outfits are better than one when it comes to mining a rich story spread over two continents" -- and she welcomed Bergman's "insider" interview with Larry Kurlander: "the documentary scores a first...in getting a former Newmont executive talking on camera."

"In the documentary, the former Newmont executive Larry Kurlander is featured throughout. He emerges as the conscience in the drama, newly aware of the world beyond the corporate suite."

"Parting shots reveal a sea of Peruvian villagers protesting the Yanacocha mine, overflowing the town square and shutting down mine operations. Newmont is significantly cutting its production of gold at Yanacocha, in part because the protesters have forced the company to stop expansion.

"Kurlander gets the last word, a chastened executive: 'Communities are more and more becoming involved in their own destinies. Without the community support you'll be out of business eventually. They will force you out of their community, and it doesn't matter how much government support you have.'"

We were pleased to see that two newspapers in Peru -- La Republica and El Comercio -- carried long summaries of Bergman's documentary and his related article in the October 25 New York Times, coauthored with Jane Perlez.

Our lead story garnered the press attention, but viewers were equally pleased with our second story, "A Murder in Kyiv," reporter Brian Knappenberger's report from Ukraine about the case of slain journalist Georgy Gongadze.

""Your Web pages on the Gongadze issue are superb as was your broadcast, which aired last night on PBS."

"Your Web pages on the Gongadze issue are superb as was your broadcast, which aired last night on PBS," emailed Andrew Fylypovych of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "But why was there essentially no advance notice and no information on any site that this program was going to air? The lack of information almost seemed conspiratorial. Parenthetically, I also like your piece on Newmont Mining. And from a purely technical point of view, the style of presentation, which allows viewers to hear the original foreign language, adds a very real dimension to the video."

We can assure Mr. Fylypovych that there was no conspiracy to hide our Ukraine story. On the contrary, if there's a conspiracy on our part it's our constant plotting to figure out new ways to alert more people to our TV stories and our growing Web site. We welcome suggestions and urge viewers to spread the word about our "stories from a small planet."

Which brings me to the final story in last week's broadcast, "The Play Pump," which we sampled at the end of our program. That upbeat story from South Africa about a new invention to provide safe drinking water received high praise from those of you who watched it online.

"Thank you for sharing such a positive solution to a serious world problem," emailed one viewer. "I don't know why you didn't broadcast this story. I encourage you to cover more solutions like this, to demonstrate that many of the world's problems only lack political will and a 'we are all one' viewpoint."

Our excuse? It was the tyranny of the clock, we simply ran out of time in our broadcast, but we are proud to stream the video on our Web site. For those of you who requested more information, play pump entrepreneur, Trevor Field, welcomes your emails at:

trevorf@roundabout.co.za

Thanks for watching. Our next television broadcast is in January. Between now and then our Web site will feature many new Rough Cut videos and Dispatches from around the world.