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EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports
EXPOSÉ 2008 Season
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Series Overview

EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports is an award-winning PBS documentary series that gives a prime-time spotlight to some of the most important investigative journalism in America.

From Portland to El Paso, Chicago to Miami, San Francisco to Hartford (and of course in Washington, D.C.), investigative journalism in the United States is alive and well. Every day, reporters are on the trail of those in government, corporations, and other institutions who fail to protect those they serve, whether by covering up harmful actions, using their influential, public-service positions to reap personal gain, or otherwise betraying the public trust. The reporters chase down leads, question those in power, receive anonymous tips, crunch electronic data, analyze boxfuls of paper documents, visit the scenes, cultivate sources, pursue hunches, check and recheck facts -- all in an effort to hold accountable those who are supposed to be serving the public interest. And when it is time to publish or go on the air, they hope not only that wrongs will be righted but also that if they are, the "system" will have a chance to work.

Montage of season one images

In EXPOSÉ's last season: the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL revealed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's mismanagement of disaster relief funds; the CHICAGO TRIBUNE was the first to report that U.S. military subcontractors were using deception and coercion to recruit low-wage foreign workers to Iraq; photographer Paul Fusco chronicled the consequences of the war in Iraq, shooting close to 30 funerals of American soldiers; and SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reporter Eric Nalder's investigation into the enforcement of safety regulations on oil tankers uncovered serious safety lapses and cover-ups.



Yet it does not always work out that way. Investigative journalism often does not have the impact or reach that it should. Published or broadcast stories seldom gain exposure beyond "the city limits" in which they are produced -- even when the issues have national resonance and repercussions.

In September 2006, Thirteen/WNET in association with the Center for Investigative Reporting (Berkeley, CA) launched EXPOSÉ: America's Investigative Reports, a series that brings national attention to such reports in a way unprecedented on American television. Each program shines a light on civic-minded journalism in an effort to promote its democratic role as a check on government, corporate, and other kinds of power. By featuring the best of investigative journalism, EXPOSÉ provides the public with a mechanism to scrutinize the institutions that are critical to the life of the country. This type of reporting arms people with information about their "tax dollars at work," their elected representatives' actions, and the activities of business and public agencies. In short, it presents the stories the public has a right to know.

Each of the original, documentary-style, half-hour episodes features investigations originating in print, on television, on the radio or the internet. The program brings the audience close to investigations that have rocked communities, shaken up the powers-that-be, and truly made a difference. EXPOSÉ has cast a wide net, featuring topics including waste and fraud at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, clinical drug trial safety, and human trafficking, to name a few. In its second season, EXPOSÉ will continue to be the national window for powerful investigations and remain a catalyst for reporters, journalism students, and citizens to ask more questions of those in power.

Many investigative reporters and editors are fascinating storytellers who are able to provide shrewd insights and details about their experiences. Such insights and "war stories" seldom, if ever, make it into the reports themselves. Yet EXPOSÉ is driven by the reporters and captures their passion and energy in a way that television has never done before. These insiders provide the context, color, and detail for each story along with a rare look at journalism from the other side of the lens. And because EXPOSÉ features the finest in recent American investigative reporting and increases its overall impact, the series is relevant, timely, and vital, and adds an important new voice to the national discussion about journalism's place in a democracy.

"EXPOSÉ aims to do three things," says Stephen Segaller, director of news and public affairs programming at Thirteen and executive-in-charge of EXPOSÉ. "We amplify these investigative reports -- gleaned from magazines, newspapers, TV news, radio, and online publications -- and bring them to a national audience. With the participation of the reporters in our documentaries, we demonstrate how investigative journalism, at its best, is done. And, finally, we demonstrate that investigative journalism is substantive, important, and influential."


This Week's Episode
Watch Online
Click here to watch the entire episode of "Sustained Outrage" online.
Episode Guide


Episode 201:
Think Like a Terrorist (Pt. 1). Reporter Carl Prine of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reveals security shortfalls in the nation's chemical plants. Premieres online June 20, airs on PBS June 22.


Episode 202:
Think Like a Terrorist (Pt. 2). Carl Prine expands his investigation to include the transport of deadly toxics via the U.S. railways. Premieres online June 27, airs on PBS June 29.


Episode 204:
Friends in High Places
Vanity Fair pulls back the curtain on SAIC, the largest government contractor you've never heard of. Premieres online July 11, airs on PBS July 13.


Episode 205:
The Scientific Method
The Houston Chronicle investigates the air quality in neighborhoods bordering many petroleum refineries with startling results. Premieres online July 18, airs on PBS July 20.


Episode 206:
Money for Nothing
A Miami Herald investigation exposes widespread mismanagement and misspending at the Miami-Dade Housing Agency. Premieres online July 25, airs on PBS July 27.


Episode 212:
Death is Different
McClatchy News Service investigates lawyers who are required by law -- but often fail -- to defend their clients' lives in death penalty cases. Premieres online September 5, airs on PBS September 7.


Episode 213:
Eyes on the Road
Beginning with a deadly crash that killed ten people, this Dallas Morning News investigation examines safety in the nation's trucking industry. Premieres online on PBS September 14.


Episode 215:
In a Small Town (Part 1)
A small-town reporter unearths a long-buried secret within the local Boy Scouts, leading to a pedophile scandal that rocks a community (Part 1). Premieres online September 26, airs on PBS September 28.


Episode 216:
In a Small Town (Part 2)
A small-town reporter unearths a long-buried secret within the local Boy Scouts, leading to a pedophile scandal that rocks a community (Part 2). Premieres October 5.


Episode 218:
Quid Pro Quo
The Copley News Service and The San Diego Union-Tribune go inside the Beltway and expose the bribes-for-government-contracts scheme that made Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham a rich man, and ultimately landed him in jail. Premieres online October 17, airs on PBS October 19.


Episode 219:
Security Theater
Going undercover, using hidden cameras, and obtaining government documents, local television news reporters reveal lax security, sleeping guards and failed security tests at some of the nation's busiest airports. Premieres online and on PBS October 26.


Episode 220:
Sustained Outrage
In the wake of the Sago Mine disaster, The Charleston Gazette goes deep inside the coal mining industry to reveal the lax safety measures and lack of oversight by a federal agency that can create deadly working conditions. Premieres online November 1, airs on PBS November 2.