WGBH News and Media Relations


May 13, 2015

New Executive Producer Named at FRONTLINE, WGBH’s Iconic Investigative Documentary Series; Raney Aronson to Succeed David Fanning in Leading Flagship PBS Public Affairs Program

(Boston, MA –May 13, 2015) WGBH President Jonathan Abbott today announced that Raney Aronson will become the new Executive Producer of FRONTLINE, succeeding David Fanning, who is stepping away from the award-winning investigative documentary series after three decades. Aronson, a leading voice on narrative journalism and visual storytelling, has been with FRONTLINE since 2001 and was named Deputy Executive Producer in 2012.

Fanning has served as FRONTLINE’s Executive Producer since founding the series in 1983. Under his leadership over the past 33 seasons, FRONTLINE has built a reputation for powerful investigative storytelling that tackles the toughest, most controversial and complex stories of our times.

The series has won every major award in broadcast journalism: 69 Emmys, including a special Emmy Award for excellence in documentary filmmaking; 31 duPont-Columbia University Awards; 17 Peabody Awards; and 15 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards; eight Television Critics Awards; and eight Banff Television Awards.  

Fanning was personally honored with a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 2013. He plans to remain with WGBH and FRONTLINE, return to filmmaking, and develop new film projects as an executive producer at large, beginning June 1.

“David Fanning has established FRONTLINE as the high bar in journalism, the standard by which serious, in-depth reporting is measured. We are grateful not only for his decades of committed editorial leadership, but also his dedicated and thoughtful planning for a transition to a strong future,” said Abbott. “There is no one more qualified to lead FRONTLINE into the future than Raney Aronson. With her exceptional journalistic skills, deep commitment to documentary filmmaking, and clear editorial vision, she is doing groundbreaking investigative work and expanding FRONTLINE into a trans-media enterprise that is engaging new audiences.”

“It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have led FRONTLINE for more than three decades,” says Fanning. “I have had one of the best jobs in journalism, and been able to work with so many talented and smart people. They have made FRONTLINE what it is, and I have had great joy in helping them make that happen. I have deep confidence that Raney Aronson will carry on this work with distinction.”

Since joining FRONTLINE fifteen years ago as a producer, and in 2007 becoming senior producer, Aronson has been recognized nationally and internationally for her work to expand the series’ original investigative journalism. As Deputy Executive Producer she has guided the series’ evolution and editorial vision in tandem with Fanning. She pioneered a collaborative model, developing and managing nearly 30 in-depth, cross-platform journalism partnerships with some of the nation’s premiere news outlets, including ProPublica, American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, CBC Television and Univision.

In addition to leading FRONTLINE’s broadcast efforts, Aronson has also worked to translate FRONTLINE’s core journalistic values of fairness, depth and transparency into the digital space, making a commitment to interactive projects and exploring virtual reality’s potential as a journalism tool.

“It is a great honor to become Executive Producer of FRONTLINE,” says Aronson. “David Fanning’s mentorship and partnership over the past fifteen years has been extraordinary. I am inspired by his legacy, and honored to guide FRONTLINE’s future.”

Before joining FRONTLINE Aronson worked at ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC. She earned her bachelor’s degree in South Asian studies and history from the University of Wisconsin, and received her master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“FRONTLINE strives every day to provide the kind of serious journalism essential for our democracy. For 33 years, David Fanning has been at the heart of this effort at FRONTLINE,” said PBS President Paula Kerger. “We will miss his leadership, but we are excited and confident about the vision Raney Aronson will bring to this critically important series.”


FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH 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. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ to learn more.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.



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