FRONTLINE and Firelight Media Announce Inaugural Class of FRONTLINE/Firelight Investigative Journalism Fellows


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October 11, 2018

FRONTLINE, PBS’s award-winning investigative documentary series, and Firelight Media today announced the inaugural recipients of the FRONTLINE/Firelight Investigative Journalism Fellowship — a new fellowship to support diverse independent producers interested in investigative documentary filmmaking and audio storytelling.

Juliana Schatz Preston and Roopa Gogineni have been selected as the first recipients of the fellowship, which aims to address the need for more diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences within the field of investigative journalism.

“We are so pleased to collaborate with Firelight on this important fellowship, and to have the opportunity to work with Juliana and Roopa in this way,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “We’re committed to building a stronger pipeline of investigative storytellers from communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in media organizations. Such a pipeline is crucial to strengthening this industry and deepening its coverage of the issues our country faces.”

“Documentary films have the power to shape conversations, beliefs and understanding across a range of issues,” says Firelight co-founder, Stanley Nelson. “That is why we are thrilled to partner with FRONTLINE to diversify the pool of storytellers and journalists working within public media.”

With the guidance of both a Firelight mentor and a FRONTLINE mentor, Preston and Gogineni will each work over the course of an approximately six-month period to produce an investigative project that will premiere on the series’ digital or audio platforms.

Preston, a Colombian-American documentary filmmaker, will focus on making a short documentary over the course of her fellowship. She has previously worked on films for the Kirk Documentary Group and FRONTLINE, as well as The GroundTruth Project and Al Jazeera. She also co-directed and produced the short film “Los Comandos,” which has been on the festival circuit and was just shortlisted for an IDA Award.

Gogineni, a documentary filmmaker, photographer and audio producer, will focus on making an episode of FRONTLINE’s original narrative podcast, The FRONTLINE Dispatch. She has lived in Kenya for the past seven years, contributing to outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and PRI. Most recently, she directed the award-winning New York Times Op-Doc “I Am Bisha: The Rebel Puppeteers of Sudan.”

As part of their fellowships, Preston and Gogineni will also have periodic residencies at FRONTLINE’s headquarters at WGBH or satellite office at Left/Right Productions in New York, and access to professional development workshops and programs for investigative documentary filmmakers.

“I have long admired the work coming out of both FRONTLINE and Firelight, and am eager to know the journalists at these institutions,” says Gogineni.

“I want to be challenged in my reporting, to be given the confidence to go the extra lengths to make an investigative film the best it can be,” says Preston.

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 91 Emmy Awards and 20 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 and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Founded and led by MacArthur “genius” fellow Stanley Nelson and award-winning writer and philanthropy executive Marcia Smith, Firelight was born to address the deficit of films made by and about diverse communities. Recent productions include: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Summer, and Freedom Riders. Firelight’s flagship program – the Documentary Lab – is a fellowship that provides mentorship, funding, and access to emerging filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Major funding for Firelight is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcast, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Andrus Family Fund, Wellspring Advisers, Bertha Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Genuine Article Pictures.



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