FRONTLINE Expands Its Reporting Ranks, Hiring Pulitzer Prize-winning Video Journalist; Investigative Reporter for an Interactive Documentary; and Two New Journalism Fellows
The Series Hires Video Journalist Ben C. Solomon as its Inaugural Abrams Filmmaker-in-Residence and Journalist Ko Bragg as Lead Reporter for a New Interactive Documentary; Names New Class of FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellows
In a continued expansion of its reporting capacity, PBS’s flagship investigative journalism series, FRONTLINE, is welcoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning video journalist to its team, as well as a reporter for a new interactive documentary and two new FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellows.
Award-winning journalist Ben C. Solomon joins FRONTLINE as the series’s first Abrams Filmmaker-in-Residence, a new yearlong position supported by the Abrams Foundation. Prior to joining FRONTLINE, which is produced at WGBH in Boston, Solomon worked at The New York Times, where he served as the paper’s first visual-first correspondent and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.
“Ben is an innovative and accomplished filmmaker and journalist, and we are thrilled to have him join us as our inaugural filmmaker-in-residence,” says FRONTLINE’s Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “With generous funding from the Abrams Foundation, this position will immerse filmmakers in all aspects of FRONTLINE’s production and journalism processes. We’re excited for the rigorous and boundary-pushing documentary storytelling that will result.”
Solomon’s work for The New York Times included an interactive visit to ISIS-torn Mosul, a short documentary about a Rohingya family fleeing Myanmar, and an Overseas Press Club Award-winning virtual reality film drawing on footage taken at candlelight vigils in Paris in the wake of the deadly 2015 terrorist attacks. In his role as FRONTLINE’s filmmaker-in-residence, Solomon will be responsible for the execution and production of at least three films of varying lengths, styles and formats.
“FRONTLINE is truly a powerhouse of television, investigative journalism and storytelling, and I’m honored to join as the first filmmaker-in-residence,” says Solomon. “I’ve grown up watching FRONTLINE documentaries — they’ve always been the pinnacle of what I think journalism and filmmaking can be. It’s really exciting to be the inaugural filmmaker-in-residence amongst such an amazing roster of directors and filmmakers, and such a great history of storytelling and award-winning work.”
Additionally, Ko Bragg joins FRONTLINE as the lead reporter on an ambitious new interactive documentary project examining civil rights cold cases. Since graduating from Columbia Journalism School and Sciences Po École de Journalisme in Paris, Bragg has been covering criminal justice issues in Mississippi — winning eight awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, mainly for her coverage of officer-involved shootings and kids charged as adults. Bragg served as an investigative fellow at Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and as a reporter at the Jackson Free Press. Her work has also appeared in Scalawag Magazine and The Appeal. She was recently selected as one of 12 journalists to participate in the Data Institute 2019, a prestigious workshop by the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica. Bragg will be working with FRONTLINE’s award-winning interactive team and series producer Michelle Mizner on the new investigative interactive documentary experience.
“It feels like a dream to join a team of formidable journalists and producers at FRONTLINE, a household name that has a longlasting legacy of making history come alive, forcing humanity to reckon with its present realities, and propelling the industry forward,” says Bragg.
“We are so pleased to welcome Ko to our team,” says Aronson-Rath. “She is an intrepid reporter and talented storyteller whose coverage of criminal justice issues has been sharp and illuminating. Her skills and expertise will elevate our work.”
In addition, FRONTLINE will soon welcome Zoe Todd and Karen Pinchin — its fifth cohort of FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellows. Like the filmmaker-in-residence position, Todd’s fellowship is supported by the Abrams Foundation; Pinchin’s fellowship is supported by The Tow Foundation. FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellows are selected graduates of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism who produce transmedia projects for FRONTLINE that combine text, video, photography, audio and graphics across broadcast and digital platforms. The endeavor launched in 2015 with funding from The Tow Foundation and the Abrams Foundation.
“We are grateful for our continued partnership with FRONTLINE, The Tow Foundation and the Abrams Foundation,” says Steve Coll, dean of Columbia Journalism School. “FRONTLINE has become an extraordinarily impactful and innovative news franchise, and these fellowships will provide Columbia Journalism graduates an opportunity to work with some of the best journalists in the country on deep investigations and narratives of public importance.”
“For the past four years, our Columbia Journalism School fellows have been a vital part of our newsroom and our in-depth reporting capacity. We’re grateful to The Tow Foundation, Columbia and the Abrams Foundation for their support for these fellowships, and excited for the important work Zoe and Karen will do as part of our newsroom,” adds Aronson-Rath, herself an alumna of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Over their yearlong fellowship, the fellows will contribute to FRONTLINE’s in-house digital, interactive, and/or broadcast reporting, as well as conduct their own enterprise investigations, drawing on their journalistic areas of focus and reporting background:
- Zoe Todd, who will join FRONTLINE as this year’s Abrams Journalism Fellow, is a 2019 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where she studied political reporting with a particular focus on health care and criminal justice. A multimedia journalist from Canada, Todd got her start filing daily news for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Alberta. Before moving to the U.S., she launched the broadcaster’s first one-person bureau in Grande Prairie, Alberta, investigating the culture, politics and economy of remote communities. She tells stories across platforms, using video, audio and her writing to craft character-driven narratives. Todd also holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with high distinction from Carleton University in Ottawa, with a minor in political science.
- Karen Pinchin will join FRONTLINE as this year’s Tow Journalism Fellow. A 2019 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Pinchin specialized in longform and investigative science reporting, pursuing stories such as the international criminal demand for American eel, the neurology of PTSD and effects of saltwater flooding after Hurricane Sandy. She is the recipient of a 2019 Lynton Fellowship in Book Writing, a 2018 Atlantic Journalism Award for business reporting, and a 2017 Marion Hebb Research Grant for her in-depth reporting into the future of agricultural breeding. Pinchin got her start at The Canadian Press and Maclean’s, and has since regularly contributed to the Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic, and The Walrus. Most recently, she worked as a freelance journalist in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where she acquired non-fiction books for Canada’s oldest independent publishing house.
The Abrams Foundation, based in Boston, was founded by Amy and David Abrams in 1997. Its mission is to nurture creative, deeply informed communities, while promoting equity and fairness. Grant making is concentrated in three areas: journalism and narrative, arts and creativity, and access and opportunity. For more information, visit https://www.abramsfoundation.org/
ABOUT THE TOW FOUNDATION: 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 fields of juvenile and criminal justice, medicine, higher education, and culture. For more information, visit http://www.towfoundation.org.
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 22 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube 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 and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.
For more than a century, the Columbia Journalism School has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened in 1912 and offers Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science in Data Journalism, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communications. It houses the Columbia Journalism Review, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, the Mike Berger Awards and the WERT Prize for Women Business Journalists. Journalism.columbia.edu
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