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Emmy Spotlight

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At FRONTLINE/World, this is what we like to call our "summer season."

FRONTLINE/World airs four to five times a year on PBS during FRONTLINE's October to June broadcast season. Our last TV episode went out on June 26 (you can still see all four stories online), and our next one isn't on until October, when FRONTLINE returns. Like many of you, this is the time of year we flee the office for vacations. But there's always someone here working because our Web site never sleeps.

These days we launch on the Web all year round, posting new features every week, from Rough Cut online videos like "Uganda: The Condom Controversy" by Daniele Anastasion to our latest FlashPoint slideshow about Kashmir, "A Troubled Paradise," by photojournalist Ami Vitale. No summer hiatus for us.

So in the midst of this busy summer season, we were delighted to learn that FRONTLINE/World has been nominated for five news and documentary Emmys. Up against 60 Minutes and ABC News, FRONTLINE/World's Gwynne Roberts earned a nomination for "Saddam's Road to Hell," a harrowing account of the search for thousands of Iraqi Kurds who disappeared during Saddam's reign of terror.

Four nominations came in the new Broadband Emmy categories that recognize online videos, and since we devote so much time and energy to the Rough Cut videos for the Web site, we were particularly pleased that the Emmy judges noticed.

Our four other nominations came in the new Broadband Emmy categories that recognize online videos, and since we devote so much time and energy to the Rough Cut videos we produce for this Web site, we were particularly pleased that the Emmy judges noticed. The nominees include Marian Marzynski's story about Mexican immigrants in Chicago, "Little Mexico;" Sasha Khokha's "Calcutta Calling" about American teenage girls adopted from an orphanage in India; and two stories by Marco Werman, "France: Soundtrack to a Riot" and "Libya: Out of the Shadow." As some of you may recall, Marco's story about the solar eclipse in Libya first appeared online and later, in a slightly different version, turned up on one of our broadcasts last year.

You can see all four of the Emmy-nominated Rough Cut online stories here.

The Emmy winners will be announced September 24 in New York. Our congratulations and best wishes to all five FRONTLINE/World nominees, as well as to our FRONTLINE colleagues who earned Emmy nominations for their documentaries, "Sex Slaves" and "The Lost Year in Iraq."

There's more good news: At its annual conference July 14 at New York's Columbia University, the South Asian Journalists Association honored FRONTLINE/World's Samantha Grant with its New Media award for "Outstanding story about South Asia" for her Rough Cut video, "India: A Pound of Flesh."

Grant's report is an expose about the black market for kidneys in India, where poor people, mainly women, sell their organs for cash. Her FRONTLINE/World story was also picked up and featured on the public radio news program, "Marketplace."

Grant's report is an expose about the black market for kidneys in India, where poor people, mainly women, sell their organs for cash.

We're also happy to announce that some of our stories are now available through iTunes. There are eight "Rough Cuts" available now and more being added every week. So if you would like to subscribe to download these stories and watch them full screen, visit the PBS podcast page. Scroll down and you will find us listed along with lots of other PBS programming.

Finally, we are pleased to see that our recent spate of "social entrepreneur" stories continues to draw a lot of attention and comment online. You can watch them all here.

We notice that one story in particular has really caught on: "Hero Rats," about the African rodents being trained by Bart Weetjens and his staff in Tanzania to sniff out land mines in Mozambique and other countries. That story may have gotten a boost from the simultaneous (and coincidental) release of Disney/Pixar's latest animated movie starring a rat that yearns to become a gourmet chef.

"Move over Ratatouille, here come the hero rats," wrote one viewer. "Kudos to Bart and his team. Amazing work."

"Move over Ratatouille, here come the hero rats," wrote one viewer. "Kudos to Bart and his team. Amazing work."

That viewer was one of several who asked how Ararat, the mine-detecting rat featured in our story, got his name. The answer: His Tanzanian trainer named him after Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey, the place in the Bible where Noah's Ark, laden with animals, is said to have come to rest after the flood.

Incidentally, we held a festival of our "social entrepreneur" stories in San Francisco on June 25 and featured "Hero Rats" and Bart Weetjens, who happens to be Belgian and a practicing Buddhist monk. Among others, composer and conductor Luis Szaran came from Paraguay to talk about his music program for poor children, "Sounds of the Earth," and Trevor Field arrived from Johannesburg to update us on his innovative clean water project shown in our story, "The Play Pump." Trevor told the audience how his San Francisco cab driver stopped to shake his hand when he realized Trevor was the man behind the merry-go-round water pump the driver had seen on TV.

This week, while baseball fans in San Francisco are riveted by the glorious and controversial spectacle of Barry Bonds striving to hit the final three home runs he needs to surpass Henry Aaron's record, we will present "Baseball Dreams," a new Rough Cut video. The innocence of Bonds' homerun quest is clouded by a steroid haze, but if you long for a "boys of summer" experience, watch our baseball story from Ghana. It may be an unlikely locale for baseball, but Zach Stauffer's video has all the charm and hope of spring training.

You never know what you may find on our Web site this summer: Investigative reports, stunning photo essays, even sports stories. "FRONTLINE/World (PBS) scours the globe like Joan Crawford with an SOS pad..." writes Kansas City TV critic Aaron Barnhart. That's my current favorite description of the work we are doing on TV and on the Web. As we continue to scour, we are enormously grateful that you, that cab driver from San Francisco, and those Emmy judges are watching.

Stephen Talbot is the Series Editor for FRONTLINE/World.

REACTIONS

- Berkeley, CA
Bravo, Frontline World. Keep it going!