FRONTLINE Wins Writers Guild Award

February 12, 2018
by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

This still from "Confronting ISIS" shows a neighborhood in Tikrit, Iraq that was destroyed by Shia militia as acts of retribution toward Sunni residents who they believe harbored ISIS.

Confronting ISIS, FRONTLINE’s October 2016 investigation of the complexities and challenges of the U.S.-led fight against the terror group, won the “Documentary Script — Current Events” category last night at the 2018 Writers Guild Awards.

The two-hour film from writer, reporter and producer Martin Smith and producer Linda Hirsch was previously honored with a Peabody Award.

“I am honored that the guild has recognized our film. Sadly, we found that the inequities and sectarianism that gave rise to ISIS still prevail across the Middle East,” said Smith, who while making the documentary reported from five countries with key roles in the anti-ISIS fight — Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. “I’d like to thank FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath for her unwavering editorial support and acumen and all my colleagues for their extraordinary dedication and intelligence.”

Smith’s reporting on the Middle East is ongoing: His newest documentary on the region, a two-part series called Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia produced with Hirsch and FRONTLINE founder David Fanning, begins next week on PBS.

FRONTLINE earned three WGA nominations this year. Rick Young was nominated alongside Smith in the “Documentary Script — Current Events” category for Poverty, Politics and Profit, an investigation with NPR of America’s affordable housing crisis, and why so few people are getting the help they need. Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser were nominated in the “Documentary Script – Other Than Current Events” category for Divided States of America (part one), an in-depth examination of America’s intense political and cultural polarization in the Obama years.

“Congratulations to Martin on this win, and Michael, Mike and Rick on their nominations,” said Aronson-Rath. “FRONTLINE’s commitment to fair, tough journalism and powerful narrative storytelling is embodied in the writing and work of these dedicated and talented documentary filmmakers.”

Watch the winning and nominated films below:

Confronting ISIS

Poverty, Politics and Profit

Divided States of America (part one)

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