POV, the long-running PBS documentary series, and The New York Times Co. have formed a partnership to present a series of online-only documentaries, with companion articles and interviews, over the course of 2014.
Partnership will kick off this Saturday, March 8, with half-hour film “The Men of Atalissa” by New York Times columnist and reporter Dan Barry and Kassie Bracken, a video journalist at the paper. The docu tells the story of a few dozen men with intellectual disabilities in an Iowa farming community who lived in an old schoolhouse on top of a hill — and the day-to-day abuse they endured.
In addition to the film, the Times will publish an article by Barry online, and POV will feature a behind-the-scenes online interview with the journalists. Barry’s article will appear in the Sunday print edition of paper. “The Men of Atalissa” is produced by Bracken, Barry and John Woo, senior staff editor for video at the Times and former editor with POV Digital.
“Documentaries and journalism are natural allies, and our collaboration with The New York Times represents the best of both worlds,” Cynthia Lopez, co-exec producer of POV, said in announcing the deal. “With this initiative, nonfiction filmmakers will join forces with the newsroom’s top journalists to inform and engage the public about critical social issues.”
POV and the New York Times have previously worked together, including in a special forum held in 2011 about the Pentagon Papers with Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the classified documents to the newspaper in 1971. That became part of POV’s Oscar-nominated film “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.”
POV, produced by American Documentary, is in its 27th season on PBS, making it the longest-running documentary series on U.S. TV.