April 19, 2007
BY Stephen Talbot
The story from Afghanistan that aired on PBS April 10 marked the 25th broadcast episode of FRONTLINE/World.
Last week's episode of FRONTLINE/World, which aired April 10, was a milestone for us. It marked the 25th broadcast in our series which debuted back in May 2002. We have now aired 61 original stories, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Our 25th episode was a typical broadcast in the sense that it featured three "stories from a small planet" of the sort that our viewers have come to expect: a tough, lead story about the fighting in Afghanistan; a repeat of our inspiring microlending story set in Uganda; and a new tale of a symphony conductor in Paraguay who has set up music schools to help poor children.
If you missed the show, don't worry, as always we stream the video of every story we broadcast, though this time because of a contractual arrangement the Afghan video won't be posted until July 9. You can also sample our growing video archive of more than 100 stories from over 50 countries.
FYI, our next broadcast is June 26. To make sure you catch it, subscribe to our FRONTLINE/World newsletter and we will email you an alert for this and all future episodes.
As Kansas City TV critic Aaron Barnhart recently put it, "Frontline/World (PBS) scours the globe like Joan Crawford with an SOS pad..."
We appreciate all the emails that viewers sent us in response to last week's show. You can read them in the "React" section of each story. And we are gratified by what critics like Tony Perry of The Los Angeles Times had to say.
We appreciate all the emails that viewers sent us in response to last week's show. And we are gratified by what critics like Tony Perry of The Los Angeles Times had to say.
"The detail provided in 'Afghanistan' ["The Other War"] is vivid and first-rate," wrote Perry. "Correspondent Sam Kiley was embedded with a Canadian platoon in Al Baq and brought back an inside look that is candid and unsparing."
Our story about Kiva, the innovative San Francisco-based group that offers people a chance to make microloans online to industrious entrepreneurs in developing countries, once again prompted an outpouring of interest and support. The first time we aired this story the response was so great we overwhelmed the kiva.org Web site. But this time they were prepared. They have now processed nearly $5 million in small loans -- up from $400,000 just last October.
And our story, "Sounds of Hope," elicited heartfelt mail from Asuncion, Paraguay to Newton, Kansas, where one viewer wrote: "I saw the program and was very touched. Music lets you see into the soul of a person and what beautiful souls these children have. What a blessing this man is to use his gift of music, to brighten the lives of these children."
This week also marks the 40th video we have presented in our online series, "Rough Cut," which launched in June 2005. This one is called "The Precarious Generation" and it was filmed in Paris where many young people are feeling insecure these days about their job prospects. Produced by two young Americans, Charlotte Buchen and Singeli Agnew, this latest "Rough Cut" was underwritten by a FRONTLINE/World Fellows grant in a program sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation to encourage the next generation of reporters and filmmakers.
Take a look at "The Precarious Generation" and sample any of the 18 other Fellows stories we have presented since February 2003, ranging from Haiti to Italy, China to Brazil. A whole new round of Fellows stories will be coming your way in the next two months.
And while we are at it, we want to remind you that we have begun a new feature on our Web site: "FlashPoint," a series of slideshows by top photojournalists. The first one documents sex trafficking in Eastern Europe. The photographer, Mimi Chakarova, who teaches at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, will curate the series. Look for the next one in May.
Last but not least, we continue to bring you "Dispatches," written reports from our network of correspondents around the globe. We have already published nearly 100 of these stories, and many more are in the works.
It's hard to believe, but FRONTLINE/World is already six years old. Thanks to FRONTLINE, PBS, our sponsors, and you, our viewers and Web visitors, for making that possible. Stay tuned. There's more on the way.
While we are very proud of our television broadcasts, in many ways the FRONTLINE/World Web site has become the heart and soul of this series. Not only do we stream the video of all our broadcast stories, but this site is both evergreen and constantly changing. With Rough Cut videos, Dispatches, multimedia Fellows projects, and FlashPoint slide shows, we are rapidly becoming a kind of online broadcast channel for international news and features. We hope you'll visit the site frequently to see what we are up to next and to let us know what you think of our "stories from a small planet."