FRONTLINE and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism Launch New Reporting Fellowship Program


June 24, 2015

FRONTLINE and Columbia University’s School of Journalism are pleased to announce a new enterprise journalism fellowship program, launched by funding from The Tow Foundation. The foundation’s generous multi-year gift will provide funding for three consecutive annual fellowships for Columbia graduates.

WGBH Trustee Amy Abrams and her husband David have also made a commitment, matching The Tow Foundation’s generosity, and allowing for an additional three fellowships, for a total of six.

The inaugural FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism Fellows, Sara Obeidat and Katie Worth, both 2015 graduates of the Columbia University School of Journalism, will work with FRONTLINE’s cross-platform Enterprise Journalism Group to report major transmedia projects combining text, video, photography, audio and graphics across FRONTLINE’s broadcast and digital platforms.

“As we continue to build our in-house investigative digital efforts, we are so pleased to welcome these two talented journalists for year-long fellowships,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, who was recently named FRONTLINE’s new executive producer.

“We’re grateful to The Tow Foundation, Columbia and Amy and David Abrams for their support,” adds Aronson-Rath, herself an alumna of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“The partnership with FRONTLINE and The Tow Foundation in this new fellowship program will help the journalism school continue its emphasis on digital innovation and will provide a platform for important work by our former students,” says Steve Coll, the dean of Columbia Journalism School. “FRONTLINE and Raney have been wonderful partners, and we’re grateful to Amy and David Abrams for their support.”

Over the course of one year, Obeidat and Worth will report out their own enterprise projects, as well as contribute to FRONTLINE’s increasing number of interactive and digital-first investigations.

Obeidat is one of 15 students in Columbia’s documentary program, where she has been reporting on NYPD surveillance and use of informants in New York City’s Muslim community. She has also been working on a short film about homosexuality in Islam. Before Columbia, Obeidat was a producer and reporter for 7iber, a Jordan-based multimedia storytelling platform, and a student at the London Film Academy, where her short film on the Syria revolution as seen through the eyes of two Syrian women in exile was screened in the student portion of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Obeidat interned at Rain Media, where she worked on the FRONTLINE film Obama at War, as well as the Documentary Group, where she worked on outreach for the film Girl Rising. She is a native Arabic speaker.

Worth is an accomplished freelance journalist whose stories have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, National Geographic News, Slate, Vice and The Village Voice. Worth enrolled in Columbia’s Master of Arts program for mid-career journalists in order to further develop her investigative reporting skills, as well as to learn new data reporting and coding tools. She writes about everything from science to politics, travel to business, and previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter on the island of Guam for three years and at the San Francisco Examiner for four. Her master’s thesis on the surprisingly imperfect science of DNA testing was published today by FRONTLINE, The Marshall Project and Fusion as a collaborative multimedia project.

The Tow Foundation, established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow, funds projects that offer transformative experiences to individuals and create collaborative ventures in fields where they see opportunities for breakthroughs, reform, and benefits for underserved populations. Investments focus on the support of innovative programs and system reform in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice, groundbreaking medical research, higher education, and cultural institutions. For more information, visit

WGBH Trustee Amy Abrams and her husband David, of Brookline, MA, are generous supporters of WGBH programs, including FRONTLINE. Amy is a 2015 Fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative and the President of the Abrams Foundation.

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. The series has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 69 Emmy Awards and 17 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.