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What We Do


We create rich content and experiences that cultivate understanding and a joy of learning.
Journalism
Truth over traffic

True journalism is driven by the hunt for the truth.

That should be the standard in the media, yet too often, news coverage is driven by clicks, trends and commercial interests. At WGBH, our independent status lets us set aside those distractions and focus on our commitment to the truth and our audiences.

Committing to our audiences means more than just reporting the full story; it means making that story available to everyone. Our sharp reporting on FRONTLINE sheds light on the world’s most pressing issues, and WGBH News uses its hyperlocal focus to bring Massachusetts residents the untold stories in their communities. Whether it’s local or global news, WGBH’s journalists incorporate multiple voices and carefully examine the angles that others may overlook.


It’s critically important, especially in our polarized landscape, that trustworthy journalism be available and accessible to all people, of all income brackets, across every single region of America.
Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, Frontline
Education
Access to joyful learning

Democracy requires an educated citizenry.

Not all children have access to a good education. But everyone has access to public media, and WGBH’s children’s resources can help bridge gaps that create unequal opportunity. Our TV shows and digital programs celebrate the wonder of childhood while cultivating the knowledge and skills children need to become informed citizens.

WGBH offers the richest collection of educational media available in the US to teachers and students around the world, entirely for free. By tapping into PBS Learning Media, teachers can travel with their students into black holes, conduct science experiments using real data, and learn about cultures from Korea to Kenya. Outside the classroom, children can engage with a rich array of resources designed to expose them to the wonders of numbers and letters, encourage curiosity about the natural world, and help them practice the social and emotional skills they’ll need to navigate the world successfully.


Public media can play a powerful role in supporting educational achievement for all children, especially in at-risk families.
Terry Fitzpatrick, Vice President, Children's Media and Education
Science
The stories of our lives

We know that science is captivating—and we want everyone to know.

To many audiences, the sciences feel inaccessible, yet the natural world and technology offer some of our most compelling stories. That’s why we’ve made science storytelling a focus at WGBH, and we’re using new platforms to tell those stories in groundbreaking ways.

Since its inception, NOVA has operated under the belief that science stories need to be told with the characters and drama that bring them to life. That focus on engaging storytelling continues to inspire the documentaries that have helped millions fall in love with science.

At WGBH, we believe that understanding science allows everyone to appreciate our changing world. With knowledge on our side, we all gain the power to shape our world and our future with the care they deserve.

After watching NOVA's "Forgotten Genius" about scientist Percy Julian, two students embark on a year-long research project about his life and work.

An amazing science story is an amazing human story.
Paula Apsell, Senior Executive Producer, NOVA
History
Making our past more present

Understanding history is essential to understanding ourselves.

We are all rooted in time and shaped by the past. And to understand history, we have to tell all of its stories—the uncomfortable accounts and the triumphant tales. Because WGBH is free from commercial constraints, we are able to convey the richness of history without pressure to simplify, whitewash, or omit parts of the story.

Through its carefully researched films, American Experience uncovers the experiences of all Americans. But the story isn’t finished when the film ends. Digital resources allow our audiences to explore primary sources that were once only available to academics. Our expansive web presence allows viewers to explore a topic in all kinds of ways: watching short-form video, studying historical images, and reading accessible essays written by experts in their fields. When these resources are available to all, we uncover a collective history that brings us closer to the truth.

Finalists at the annual National History Day in Washington, D.C. share how American Experience films inspired their research.

The more we know about the struggles of the past, the better equipped we are to deal with the incredible challenges of this century.
Mark Samels, Executive Producer, American Experience
Arts & Culture
Unfettered Imagination

There’s a reason our very first broadcast was a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. We brought listeners into the concert hall because we knew that providing access to the arts gives people the chance to expand their perspectives, helping us all appreciate new ideas and beauty.

For decades, WGBH has worked to bring classical and jazz music to all, so that everyone can experience the genres that inspire the music that we listen to today. Since that first broadcast, we’ve continued to amplify the arts and expand our offerings across platforms. Masterpiece offers viewers the chance to visit new places and time periods with some of the world’s best performers. Open Studio and Front Row Boston bring viewers to galleries and concerts with both emerging and established talent.

Accessibility
Media without limits

As technology has changed, so has the way we obtain information. For people with audio and visual impairments, our new media diet—which is increasingly reliant on visual and online media—presents constant barriers to access. We started addressing those challenges back in the seventies, when we invented closed captioning; that was just the beginning.

We continue to pioneer new solutions to ensure that everyone can benefit from innovations in media. To make media more accessible, we’re setting captioning standards on every new device and technology that comes along and have developed free software to let anyone caption anything. We’ve given people with visual impairments the chance to experience an eclipse in real time through descriptive narration (another WGBH invention), enjoy TV via audio descriptions, and access the content that informs our everyday lives. If that sounds incredible, it’s only because it hadn’t been done before—something that will never stop us.

WGBH's "Arthur," the longest-running animated children's show on television, teaches young audiences about descriptive video services for the visually impaired.
Archives
We keep history alive for future generations

WGBH has long played a critical role in preserving history for audiences and for the public. Our Media Library and Archives ensures the long-term preservation and access to WGBH’s vast archive of programming and original materials, including raw archival interviews, programs, and transcripts, which are all available through our Open Vault. WGBH is also home to the Boston TV News Digital Archive, which makes available local news stories produced in and around Boston from 1960 to 2000.

In 2013, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded WGBH and the Library of Congress stewardship of an unprecedented and historic collection of American public radio and television content—dating back through the 1950s—to be permanently preserved and made available to the public through this collaboration as the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. By preserving these moments in our past, we honor the shared history that brings us all together.

Louis Lyons
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