FRONTLINE Wins Two Writers Guild Awards


February 1, 2020
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

Two FRONTLINE documentaries, Trump’s Trade War and Right to Fail, were honored with Writers Guild Awards on Saturday night.

Written and directed by Rick Young, Trump’s Trade War won in the “Documentary Script – Current Events” category. In Trump’s Trade War, FRONTLINE and NPR investigated what led the world’s two largest economic superpowers to the brink. The joint investigation examines the forces driving the Trump administration’s gamble to confront China, and the billions of dollars at stake.

Written, produced and directed by Tom Jennings, Right to Fail won in the “Documentary Script – Other Than Current Events” category. The FRONTLINE and ProPublica joint investigation goes inside New York’s supported housing program. The film explores human struggles and the complex debate behind giving people with severe mental illness the right to live independently and succeed on one’s own terms with the right support — but also the right to fail.

“I’m incredibly appreciative to the Guild for recognizing the work of our production team at American University and our partners at NPR, and to FRONTLINE’s leadership for giving us the time and support  to investigate, think about and tell stories – that increasingly rare opportunity in journalism,” says Young. 

“This is such an honor because it’s a peer recognition from an organization that champions writers and journalists,” says Jennings. “It’s the the end result of an amazing journalistic collaboration with Joaquin Sapien of ProPublica, whose whose investigative reporting is the foundation of the film, as well as FRONTLINE executive producers, ProPublica editors and wonderful production colleagues: editors Deborah Peretz and Hannes Hosp, and reporters Nicole Reinert, Kate McCormick and Marcia Robiou. It’s an exceptional team of journalists I’m proud to be part of.”

FRONTLINE earned a total of five WGA nominations this year, including three in the “Documentary Script – Current Events” category: Elaine McMillion Sheldon for Coal’s Deadly Dust, Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser for The Mueller Investigation, and Rick Young for Trump’s Trade War. FRONTLINE also earned two nominations in the “Documentary Script – Other Than Current Events” category: Tom Jennings for Right to Fail and Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser for Supreme Revenge.

“We are proud to work with tenacious and truth-seeking journalists and gratified to see their storytelling recognized by the Writers Guild,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “Congratulations to Rick and Tom on their WGA wins, and to Elaine, Michael and Mike for their nominations.”

You can watch the winning and nominated FRONTLINE documentaries below:

Trump’s Trade War


Right to Fail


Coal’s Deadly Dust


The Mueller Investigation


Supreme Revenge