ABC’s effort took a unique look at a problem that would make any parent shudder. But more remarkable than the crew’s ability to explain childhood schizophrenia was its ability to gain the confidence of these families, who became willing to share their most intimate moments -- moments often filled with desperation. The team deserves special recognition for the trust it was able to cultivate from these struggling mothers, fathers and children. That trust enabled the viewer to get an extraordinary look at mental disease that clearly has no obvious cure.
The effort to produce this program was exemplary. The team from NBC News Dateline not only tracks migrant families it covered 10 years ago, but uncovers a unique will to succeed among some of those in America who face the longest odds. By crisscrossing the country – the journalists uncover a plight that still exists today, despite assurances from federal officials more than a decade ago that enforcement of child labor laws was improving. This team did its best to hold many of those responsible, accountable.
The production value was excellent and although it was a familiar tale -- finding a cure for cancer through the fundraising and inspiration of Alex Scott’s Lemonade Stand Foundation -- this version was fresh, well told and very uplifting.
This unvarnished account of high school dropouts in Detroit goes beyond damning generalizations to hold accountable the players at every level – from students and their parents to teachers and federal officials. The piece exposes problems that can be applied to troubled school districts across the country. The use of personal stories helps explore the complexities, offer solutions and provide cautionary examples of those who followed the dropout path.
This probing look at an alternative juvenile justice approach in Missouri documents troubled youth at some of their most emotional and vulnerable times. The one-year endeavor makes a strong case for the success of the Missouri model. However, it does not shy away from presenting its many setbacks. Ultimately, the captivating stories drive home the message that, despite the crimes they committed, these youth are worth helping.
20/20 tells the story of the extreme cycle of poverty that haunts the people of central Appalachia. Sawyer gently coaxes her subjects to share their pain, and the camera expertly captures the details of their lives: the debris, the determination and the defeat. The depiction is truthful, multidimensional and never condescending. It’s journalistic storytelling at its highest level – thoroughly researched and visually compelling.
Compelling stories and fluid story-telling drive this sharp documentary on the lack of affordable health care. The issue affects so many in this country and has been told so often, but Public Policy Productions reports these harrowing tales in an extraordinarily intimate way. The program offered comprehensive follow-up materials through community engagements and lesson plans; the availability of online materials and tie-ins to the 2008 presidential campaign; and a mash-up map that enables viewers to locate health services for the uninsured in their area.
A riveting look at social networking sites and the interplay between the real and the online lives of adolescents. FRONTLINE gained remarkable access to teens and weaves their multiple stories and issues into a strong narrative. Afterwards, the program had tangible impact in the discussions it incited among communities and organizations.
In Chicago, a bloody weekend in April 2008 could have just been a headline soon forgotten. But the producers demonstrated remarkable initiative as they sought access to law enforcement and the families of the victims gunned down. BET News deftly navigated a difficult terrain to tell the stories of those children lost to gun violence.
An extraordinary story about three young children with little else than big dreams in Camden, N.J., this report is at times raw, unfiltered, heartbreaking, depressing and revealing. It’s easy to parachute in, make judgments, and still make a 5 p.m. deadline. This story took a great deal of time and it paid off because we were there for the critical moments. You feel hope when things seem to be turning around and crushed when those opportunities fall through. The focus is on a few characters, but tells a much bigger story.
Roger Weisberg has had a long career chronicling the haves and have-nots in America. This was a fresh and compelling look at the experience of refugees in the United States through the eyes of one family.
This is a difficult but important piece about children’s mental health care, and Christina DeFranco should be lauded for putting it together on a budget that was undoubtedly dwarfed by the resources of larger filmmaking companies.
This piece shows the impact of teachers such as Ms. Groves, whose devotion to underprivileged students improves their chances for productive futures. It took impressive commitment for Dateline to follow this young, relatively untrained educator for an entire school year. The one-hour program captures the struggles facing teachers and students alike, yet maintains a sense of optimism about the state of education in our country.
Stories about foster children are usually predictable in their storylines, but this documentary takes the unusual step of looking inside the courtrooms that rule the children’s lives. The producers provide a thorough and unflinching portrait of families involved in foster care. Happy endings seem elusive, but this production allows outsiders to perhaps understand why.
With compassion, clarity and a keen eye for detail, the producers portray the efforts of Loretha Weisinger, a doula (or childbirth educator), to guide and empower teen mothers on Chicago’s West side. Her daily rounds become a prism through which we come to understand teen pregnancy and a lot more. Impossible to forget hours after watching it -- the mark of a great tale.
The documentary, aired on PBS, focuses on one of the foster care system’s most challenging problems: What to do about the perennially institutionalized who are suddenly old enough to live on their own but may not be ready to do so? The stories are masterfully told and give incredible insight into the struggles of children growing up in the system.
(A collaboration of KCET-Los Angeles, KPBS-San Diego, KQED-San Francisco and KVIE-Sacramento) The series is a riveting look at the timely and important issues facing many immigrants in America, such as language barriers, lack of health insurance, poverty and hunger.
The producers created a sensitive portrayal of a family in crisis because of a mother's drug addiction.
In an evocative and sensitive documentary, the producers allow homeless people to tell their own stories without the intrusion of a narrator. The producers didn’t settle for partial access to a homeless shelter, didn’t set up sit-down interviews and didn’t shoot for the moment. This is television at its best, John Steinbeck with a video camera.
This chilling examination of abuse of Native American children at an Alaskan boarding school in the mid-20th century is exceptional enterprise journalism.
A powerful, dignified and compelling presentation of complex issues affecting children and families as revealed by the Collins family of Chicago, who detail their efforts to escape the hopelessness and violence of the infamous Henry Horner Homes housing project. Through the intimate exploration of individual family members’ experiences, the producer has illuminated the underlying social, cultural and economic context in which four generations struggle. It is beautifully filmed and sensitive.
A penetrating look at juvenile court proceedings as seen through the stories of Indiana children and their families and a judge who gave reporters broad access to his courtroom.
The filmmakers follow the return to Vietnam of adults who had been adopted by Americans after the war, revealing their complex emotions and their discoveries about the meaning of family and heritage.