Pocket-sized documentaries feature the personal stories and experiences of young adults, “FRONTLINE Short Docs” available online

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Small documentaries. Big stories. Told in bold ways with zero misinformation. “FRONTLINE Short Docs” is a new series by PBS’s trusted source for investigative journalism and documentaries. 


FRONTLINE, the PBS investigative documentary series produced at GBH in Boston, has announced the pilot season of “FRONTLINE Short Docs” — a new, streaming original series crafted for young adults.

The short, boldly-told documentaries explore critical issues that impact young adults and the world they live in. In-depth, yet digestible, “FRONTLINE Short Docs” aims to cut through the noise and misinformation often found on social media. Audiences can watch the episodes on FRONTLINE‘s YouTube channel and PBS App starting Oct. 15, 2023.

woman pointing at six different screens with "frontline Short Docs" in the forefrontFeaturing the personal stories and experiences of young adults, these five- to 10-minute mini-documentaries help young people to think deeply about the issues that shape our world today: a harrowing escape from a wildfire; a young artist facing imprisonment in Russia for protesting the war in Ukraine; an examination of how Black people’s right to vote has been suppressed in the U.S. over the years; the enduring reflections of some of the last people to survive the Holocaust as teenagers.

“FRONTLINEShort Docs” is generously funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Laura DeBonis and Scott Nathan, made in collaboration with GBH Education for distribution on PBS LearningMedia — a partnership of PBS and GBH — which offers free classroom-ready digital learning resources.

Each new “FRONTLINE Short Docs” episode will have companion curriculum materials that align with national high school standards and will be available on the PBS LearningMedia platform.

Utilizing months-long research and analysis, “FRONTLINE Short Docs” is the product of surveys, focus groups, and interviews conducted to better understand teens’ current news media viewing habits. FRONTLINE and PBS LearningMedia assembled a Youth Advisory Council — a group of around a dozen teens recruited from diverse backgrounds and experiences — to provide reactions and feedback on each episode and the stories featured in FRONTLINE’s new series.

white text on red: Frontline Short docs“Every single time we watched a video, I would just be shocked by the information on the topic,” a member of the Youth Advisory Council said during a PBS LearningMedia webinar. “It just truly opened my eyes to just how much other teenagers and I don’t really know about the news.“

GBH Education also tested the series with high school teachers and their students to examine and refine the Short Docs and curriculum materials for classroom use.

“As a journalist and parent living in a social media-driven world, I’m passionate about media literacy and ensuring that the next generation has access to trustworthy and engaging news,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE.“ I hope that FRONTLINE Short Docs can be a resource for younger audiences to learn about critical, global issues in a way that feels both personal and approachable and that this new initiative can serve as an antidote to the misinformation seen across so many social feeds.”

“We’re grateful to GBH Education for their partnership and to CPB and Laura DeBonis and Scott Nathan who generously funded this new endeavor,” Aronson-Rath adds.

“This groundbreaking collaboration between FRONTLINE and GBH Education integrated youth and teacher feedback throughout the development process, creating a series that captivates young audiences while meeting the requirements of teachers,” says Seeta Pai, executive director of education at GBH. “Available on PBS LearningMedia as well as YouTube, this Short Docs series — with support materials created by GBH Education — encapsulates the essence of FRONTLINE’s excellence, transforming it into an invaluable educational resource.”

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest-running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 106 Emmy Awards and 31 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, Park Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen.