Every day, all around us, our world is reflected in stories. What that reflection looks like is greatly influenced by who is telling the stories. At WGBH, storytelling educates, inspires, entertains and connects people with ideas and with one another, creating a bridge across cultures to the world around us. For 65 years, that mission has remained constant, while the practice of storytelling has changed dramatically.
In today's digital age, we share our stories everywhere and in every format, across platforms and audiences-on television, radio, and online; on screens as large as our digital mural overlooking the Mass Pike, and as small as the phones in our pockets; through apps and podcasts; and in person at our studios in Brighton, in Dorchester, and at the Boston Public Library. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, we are engaging with our community, sharing the stories that matter most to them.
At a time when, for many people, stories are regarded with distrust and skepticism, and dismissed as fake, WGBH continues to be a force of light, upholding the values of veracity, trust, inclusion, human dignity and respect. These values are behind our commitment to bring you the untold, the compelling, the extraordinary and the authentic.
In education, we are at the vanguard of the transformation of classrooms through digital media, and we're collaborating with partners to reach children most in need and give them the support they deserve to build their own stories of success. In history, drama and science, we are telling the epic stories of people, events and discoveries, in myriad ways to reach and engage with the broadest possible audiences, all of whom take away something different. And through our journalism, we are in the community forging personal and mutual connections, empowering citizens to think, question, wonder and grow in ways that only public media can do.
At WGBH, we are revealing the untold stories, the point of view others have not heard, the angle that nobody has considered, through thoughtful, carefully researched, accurate and verified stories that make an impact in our lives.
Jonathan C. Abbott
President and CEO
Richard M. Burnes, Jr.
New Avenues to the Past
Since the beginning of time, storytelling has been used to preserve cultures, convey traditions, and pass on knowledge to the next generation. It is a simple art form made more powerful by modern tools that, in the hands of WGBH's master storytellers, adds an unprecedented level of depth and understanding to our shared history.
The Great War foregrounds the untold accounts of many who shaped this epic conflict. African-American soldiers. Indian code-breakers. The women who both enlisted in the war effort and protested it. In sharing their experiences, we illuminate the past with a richer, more inclusive story. Digital platforms allow us to transform the story and go far beyond the brilliant films American Experience is known for. Unpublished diaries, WWI-era propaganda posters, behind-the-scenes interviews, and a social media campaign inviting the audience to share their own stories (#WarLetterWednesday), allow audiences to understand and engage with this profoundly important era in our history. Making these historical materials available to all creates opportunities for people to forge personal connections with history, transforming the way we understand the events of the past.
We have long used television to bring the past to life in compelling and thought-provoking ways. Today we are harnessing the power of digital media to tell stories in ways that expand our perspective, create connections, and allow more voices to be heard.
"If you're going to hook students on history, you've got to tell them a story…and along with the story…they're going to pick up a little history on WWI."Read the Full Quote ›
Unwavering Commitment to Truth
At a time when the words "news" and "story" are increasingly used to describe fabrication and falsehood as often as authentic, honest reporting, the role of public media has never been more critical. WGBH is an independent voice with an unswerving dedication to accuracy, trusted for finding and sharing the true story.
Across our range of journalism enterprises—WGBH News, Greater Boston, Boston Public Radio, FRONTLINE, PRI's The World and more—WGBH brings comprehensive, transparent, factual news stories to audiences in every possible manner, wherever they are, and however they access information.
Leading the way in fostering civic engagement, WGBH produced and moderated the only live, televised 2017 Boston Mayoral debate, bringing the conversation to the public in person, on television, on the radio, online, across social media and on the WGBH news app-reaching the broadest possible audience, as the candidates debated in real time about issues that matter to our community.
The investigative journalism of FRONTLINE shines the spotlight on some of the toughest stories of our time, questioning and revealing the issues of our fast-changing world. FRONTLINE's Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, delved deep into the complex 2008 banking crisis and emerged with the untold story of the Sungs—a Chinese-American family who owned the only bank that was prosecuted. The film has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.
WGBH illuminates with in-depth, authentic journalism that helps us forge an understanding of our world.
"I am deeply grateful to WGBH News for providing high-quality, independent journalism. As someone who lived in Russia until age 25, I am acutely aware of the importance of a free press that always seeks the truth."Read the Full Quote ›
"FRONTLINE allows truth and justice to be found when government, big corporations and powerful individuals want a different narrative."Read the Full Quote ›
Everywhere Under the Sun
Investigating the mysteries of the natural world and understanding the latest in technology are at the core of WGBH's work in making science accessible to all.
Nowhere was that focus more evident than in our coverage of the 2017 total eclipse of the sun, the first to cross the continental US in 99 years. NOVA was there each step of the way to capture the celestial spectacle for audiences everywhere. Throughout the eclipse, NOVA hosted a Facebook Live event from the path of totality—the most-watched in public television history. In a first-of-its-kind production, NOVA created Eclipse Over America, which aired later that night. Part science documentary, part breaking news, part cutting-edge media production, the film featured stunning sequences of the eclipse shot just hours earlier, integrated with interviews from solar science experts.
To bring this quintessentially visual experience to all, we partnered to create Eclipse Soundscapes—an app that allowed people with visual impairments to feel and hear the eclipse. Marrying specialized imagery description techniques pioneered by WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media with technology developed by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and NASA's Heliophysics Education Consortium, we made it possible for everyone to be part of this extraordinary event.
At a time when accurate scientific knowledge is critically important, WGBH's trusted science programming reveals the unknown and brings the wonders of science and innovation to light for all.
"Being visually challenged, I cannot tell you how thrilling it was to share in this experience through the Eclipse Soundscapes app. It was beyond my imagination!"Read the Full Quote ›
Serving Early Learners and Their Families
Learning is fundamental in a young child's world, critical to success in school, and in life. For parents and caregivers without adequate resources, supporting their children's learning can be a challenge. WGBH has long been a trusted partner to educators, parents and children, creating high quality educational programs and services that give kids a chance for success.
Through our Ready to Learn initiative, a five-year cooperative agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS, WGBH is focusing on helping new immigrant families prepare their young children for success in school.
Partnering with other members of the Boston Ready to Learn Community Collaborative—English for New Bostonians, Tech Goes Home, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Public Library—WGBH is supporting the developing literacy of new immigrant children, often in low-income, underserved communities, some of the hardest to reach kids and families in the area. Family coding workshops using ScratchJr bring non-English speaking parents and children together in the use of media and hands-on science exploration. A variety of videos, online games, apps, and in-person activities, built around Ruff Ruffman, Odd Squad and other PBSKids favorites, bring stories to life and make math and science fun.
WGBH makes Ready to Learn resources available through PBS LearningMedia, the free, online digital media service co-founded by WGBH for Massachusetts educators that's now helping 1.6 million registered teachers, students and parents in 55 US states and territories achieve success.
"So often these parents are here all alone and doing things for the first time. Together we are empowering them to take a central role in their kids' learning, despite the language barrier."Read the Full Quote ›
"Some of the children we serve don't have access to enrichment classes or opportunities to explore STEM in a hands-on, fun way. Many don't have books in their homes. Working with WGBH, these programs change kids' lives."Read the Full Quote ›