Rain Media Wins Four Emmys

Four documentaries from RAINmedia won last night at the 36th Annual News & Documentary Emmys — including in the ceremony’s prestigious culminating category, Best Documentary.

United States of Secrets, a three-part investigation of NSA mass surveillance produced alongside The Kirk Documentary Group, took home two Emmys, including the Best Documentary prize. The series was previously honored with the duPont-Columbia Award and the Peabody Award.

Firestone and the Warlord, FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s investigation of the relationship between the iconic tire company and Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, also earned two Emmys. The investigation, from FRONTLINE producer Marcela Gaviria and co-producer Will Cohen and Maeve O’Boyle, had previously won an IRE Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

Including this year’s wins, RAINmedia has earned over twenty Emmy Awards to date.

Rain Media Nominated for Six Emmy Awards

Rain Media has earned six of FRONTLINE‘s nine News and Documentary Emmy Award nominations for a range of documentaries exploring key domestic and international issues.

The 2015 nominations, including 57 total nods for PBS, were announced today by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“It’s an honor for our journalism to be recognized in this way,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “From the on-the-ground story of the Ebola outbreak, to the secret history of the government’s mass surveillance program, to the relationship between an iconic American company and a Liberian warlord, we’ve worked hard to bring ambitious and untold stories to the public.”

Rain Media has won 7 Emmy Awards to date. This year’s nominations include:

Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a Current News Story — Long Form

The Rise of ISIS

United States of Secrets

Outstanding Investigative Journalism — Long Form

Firestone and the Warlord

Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form

To Catch a Trader

Best Documentary

United States of Secrets

Outstanding Research

Firestone and the Warlord

This year’s winners will be announced on Sept. 28. Watch the nominated Rain Media projects on our website.

Rain Media Wins a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

Firestone and the Warlord, a collaboration with ProPublica revealing the iconic tire company’s secret history in Liberia — has won 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards.

Firestone and the Warlord won in the New Media category. The multiplatform investigation in collaboration with ProPublica was led by Marcela Gaviria, T. Christian Miller, Jonathan Jones and Will Cohen.

Told as both a documentary film and an interactive text story, the Firestone and the Warlord investigation spanned seven years and unearthed 44 pounds of previously unreported court documents.

It found that Firestone agreed to pay millions of dollars to the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor in exchange for being able to operate in Liberia — money that, in Taylor’s own words, provided the “financial assistance that we needed for the revolution” — and uncovered how Taylor turned the company’s plantation into a rebel base that he used to wage a bloody civil war.

“I want people to come away from the documentary and the story thinking about individual choices,” veteran FRONTLINE producer Gaviria said. “It’s very easy to say, ‘Well, corporations make these choices, because what matters is the bottom line’— but people work in corporations.”

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, given annually by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, recognize outstanding reporting on human rights and social justice issues. You can read a full listing of the 2015 award recipients here, and you can watch our winning films below.

Rain Media Wins a Peabody Award

United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE’s two-part investigation of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities post-9/11, has been honored with a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary filmmaking. Rain Media produced Part Two of this series, examining how Silicon Valley feeds the NSA’s global surveillance dragnet.

“With extensive, candid interviews from both critics and defenders, FRONTLINE provided a great public service, revealing in clear, comprehensible detail how the U.S. government in its post-9/11 zeal came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world – and here at home – and the lengths to which officials have gone to hide the massive surveillance from the public,” said the announcement on the Peabody Awards website.

The Peabody Award for United States of Secrets will be presented on May 31, 2015.

Rain Media Wins an Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award

Firestone and the Warlord, FRONTLINE and ProPublica‘s 2014 investigation revealing the relationship between the iconic American tire company Firestone and the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, has won an IRE Award.

“This reporting collaboration told a gripping story of how Firestone managed to continue operating during the brutal Liberian civil war, a tale informed by diplomatic cables, court documents and accounts from Americans who ran a rubber plantation as Liberia descended into chaos,” the IRE judges wrote in a statement announcing this year’s winners.

Told as both a documentary film and an interactive text story, the Firestone and the Warlord investigation spanned seven years and unearthed 44 lbs. of previously unreported court documents.

It found that Firestone agreed to pay millions of dollars to Taylor in exchange for being able to operate in Liberia — money that, in Taylor’s own words, provided the “financial assistance that we needed for the revolution” — and uncovered how Taylor turned the company’s plantation into a rebel base that he used to wage a bloody civil war.

The judges praised Firestone and the Warlord, which was honored in the “Multiplatform – Large” investigations category, as “a concise history of a disturbing episode that the public largely overlooked, and a rare window into the interrelationships of corporations that supply our consumer goods and regimes linked to crimes against humanity.”

Rain Media Wins Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form

Emmy Award

Rain Media was a winner at the 35th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards with The Retirement Gamble (2013), an investigation into whether your IRA or 401(k) accounts will ensure a safe retirement. The film won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form. The Retirement Gamble was produced by Rain Media’s Marcela Gaviria and featured Martin Smith as correspondent. You can stream the film for free any time on FRONTLINE’s website. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Martin Smith Receives the 2014 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism

Martin Smith in Afgahnistan

Rain Media is very proud to announce that founder Martin Smith is the recipient of the 2014 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, presented by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Smith was selected in recognition of his courageous and insightful reporting on some of the most complex stories of our time: everything from revolutions in Central America and the fall of communism in Russia, to the rise of Al Qaeda and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The John Chancellor Award is presented each year to a reporter for his or her cumulative accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtime NBC News anchor John Chancellor. Selected by a nine-member committee, Smith receives the 2014 award with a $25,000 cash prize. The award will be presented at a dinner ceremony at Columbia University’s Low Library in New York on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

“Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Martin Smith has produced a truly unique body of work with independence and credibility,” said Steve Coll, dean of the journalism school. “Smith’s work represents the best of public interest journalism, and embodies the spirit of the John Chancellor Award.”

“Whether presciently reporting on Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden both before and immediately after 9/11, trying to understand the collapse of a new economy in Dot-Con, or laying out in delicious detail The Madoff Affair, Marty Smith has shown the kind of range and reportorial chops that any of us would envy,” said David Fanning, FRONTLINE executive producer.

“Marty is an astonishingly insightful, tenacious and courageous journalist and filmmaker whose reporting makes the world a better place,” said FRONTLINE deputy executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath, 95’. “It’s an honor to work with him, and we’re thrilled to premiere his next documentary, The Rise of ISIS, on October 28.”

 Click here to read Martin’s full biography.

Rain Media Nominated for 3 Emmy Awards

Rain Media has been nominated for three News & Documentary Emmy Awards this year. The winners will be announced announced on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, at a ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Rain Media’s Egypt in Crisis was nominated in the Outstanding Coverage a Current News Story—Long Form category. The film was produced by Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria, with GlobalPost‘s Charles Sennott as correspondent.

Meanwhile, two Rain Media films were nominated in the Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting—Long Form category. The Retirement Gamble, produced by Marcela Gaviria with Martin Smith as correspondent received the first nomination; while The Untouchables, produced by Martin Smith and co-produced by Linda Hirsch and Ben Gold received the second nomination.

Rain Media Nominated for 2 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism

Rain Media was recently nominated for two Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.

The Untouchables, which explores the lack of Wall Street prosecutions in the wake of the financial crisis, is a Video/Audio Category Finalist. Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who handles Wall Street criminal cases out of his seat in the Southern District of New York, recently cited The Untouchables in his New York Review of Books essay “The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted,” in which he claims that Lanny Breuer, the former leader of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, “totally misstates the law” during his interview on the program.

Meanwhile, The Retirement Gamble, FRONTLINE’s thorough primer on the uphill battle to retirement, is a Personal Finance Category Finalist. As TIME Magazine said, “You are all but certain to identify with one or more subjects in the program, and it may provide just the jolt you need to start paying attention to investment costs and save 10% of every penny you earn.”

Both films can be streamed for free on the PBS FRONTLINE website.

Congratulations to all of the finalists!

United States of Secrets, Pt. 2 to Air Tuesday, May 20 at 10 P.M. on PBS

When NSA contractor Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government network, it led to the largest leak of classified information in history — and sparked a fierce debate over privacy, technology and democracy in the post-9/11 world.

Now, in United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to reveal the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—including ordinary Americans—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public.

In part one, a two-hour film premiering Tuesday, May 13 at a special time (9 p.m.), FRONTLINE went inside Washington and the National Security Agency, piecing together the secret history of the unprecedented surveillance program that began in the wake of September 11 and continues today – even after the revelations of its existence by Edward Snowden.

Now, in part two, premiering Tuesday, May 20 at 10 p.m., veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Martin Smith (The Untouchables, To Catch a Trader) continues the story, exploring the secret relationship between Silicon Valley and the National Security Agency, and investigating how the government and tech companies have worked together to gather and warehouse your data.

Smith investigates the ways Silicon Valley has played a role in the NSA’s dragnet, and blurred the boundaries of privacy for us all.

“As big technology companies encouraged users to share more and more information about their lives, they created a trove of data that could be useful not simply to advertisers—but also to the government,” Smith says. “Privacy advocates have been worried about this since the early days of the Internet, and the Snowden revelations about the scope of government spying brought their fears into high relief.”

“If the FBI came to your door and demanded photos of your wedding, the names and daily habits of your children, the restaurants you frequent, who you’ve called and texted for the past month, and where you’ll be staying on your upcoming vacation, you’d call your lawyer,” Smith says. “But that’s exactly the sort of information we’re all sharing by living our lives digitally — and the government has taken notice in a big way.”