Sarah Childress

Senior Editor & Director of Local Projects

Sarah Childress works to develop and strengthen reporting across all FRONTLINE platforms, from its documentaries to interactives, digital stories and podcast series. She has contributed to multiple digital projects and award-winning documentaries, and in 2019 co-produced Flint's Deadly Water, a two-year investigation into the extent of a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak during the Flint water crisis, and officials’ failure to stop it. The documentary was recognized by the Scripps Howard Awards with the Jack R. Howard Award for Broadcast – National/International Coverage, and as a finalist for a 2019 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award.

In 2019, she was also appointed to lead FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which supports investigative reporting by local media outlets across the U.S.

Previously, she worked as a national reporter for Newsweek, where she covered major breaking stories, including the Iraq war. She then spent several years as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal based in Nairobi, Kenya, and later went on to edit reporters in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America for GlobalPost. Her work has also been published in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Sarah graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy.

Local Journalism Initiative: FAQs
Frequently asked questions about the Local Journalism Initiative.
June 25, 2020
Fixing the Force
Explore 20 years of federal investigations of police departments.
June 1, 2020
Soccer Leaker Rui Pinto Named as Luanda Leaks Whistleblower
A Portuguese whistleblower known for exposing financial wrongdoing in the global soccer industry has now come forward as the source of the trove of documents that revealed the business dealings of Africa’s richest woman. 
January 27, 2020
American Mom Pleads Guilty to Concealing Terrorism Financing
Samantha ElHassani, an American woman who traveled to the Islamic State with her family in 2015, has pleaded guilty to concealing financial support to her husband and brother-in-law to join the terrorist group.
November 27, 2019
We Found Dozens of Uncounted Deaths During the Flint Water Crisis. Here’s How.
A deadly outbreak during the water crisis officially killed 12 people. A FRONTLINE investigation strongly suggests the toll was much higher. Here's how we did it.
September 10, 2019
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Flint's Deadly Water
How officials failed to stop a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak during the Flint water crisis.
September 10, 2019
Five Years In, the Flint Water Crisis Continues Its Deadly Toll
Over the past two years, FRONTLINE has been investigating the extent and toll of the Legionnaires’ outbreak in Flint — which, despite being one of the largest in U.S. history, has been eclipsed by outrage over high lead levels in the water and the resulting public health crisis.
April 25, 2019
American Mom Charged with Aiding Terrorists After Living Under ISIS
El Hassani now faces a felony charge of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, and a charge of aiding an individual to provide material support to ISIS.  
August 23, 2018
Flint Water Crisis Deaths Likely Surpass Official Toll
A FRONTLINE investigation has found the death toll in Flint, Michigan, from contaminated water may be much higher than state health officials have acknowledged.
July 24, 2018
American Mom Who Lived Under ISIS Charged with Lying to FBI
Samantha El Hassani, an American woman who lived with her husband and children in ISIS’ Syrian capital for more than two years, has been formally charged by federal prosecutors.
July 24, 2018
American Mom Who Lived Under ISIS May Be Prosecuted
Samantha El Hassani, an American woman who lived under ISIS rule has reportedly been indicted by federal prosecutors.
July 20, 2018
An American Mom Who Lived Under ISIS Rule Speaks Out
In her first interview, El Hassani said that her husband tricked her into traveling to the Islamic State.
April 11, 2018