By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Investigative reporting worth listening to

Phillip Martin

Phillip Martin

Earlier this year I listened to a remarkable investigative series by my WGBH colleague Phillip Martin called “Human Trafficking: From Boston to Bangkok.” Martin tracked the modern slave trade literally from Boston to Southeast Asia, interviewing victims as well as people working to end this horror.

I didn’t blog about it at the time, but I should have. And now I have another opportunity, because on Tuesday Martin received the Gold Award from the UN Department of Public Information. The series also was recognized as a Gold Radio Winner for Best Investigative Report.

If you haven’t heard the eight-part series, you should. I had to do some fiddling so that I could get it onto my iPhone, but it was well worth it. Martin told a harrowing story, and did what good investigative reporting is supposed to do — take an abstract problem and put human faces to it.

The press release from WGBH follows.

BOSTON, Mass. (June 20, 2013) — WGBH Radio earned two prestigious awards at the 2013 New York Festivals International Radio Programs and Promos Awards for the “Underground Trade” series. The eight-part investigative series on human trafficking, reported by WGBH senior reporter Phillip W.D. Martin, aired on 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio, earlier this year. The series was selected by a special jury as the 2013 United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) Gold Medalist. The series also was recognized as a Gold Radio Winner for Best Investigative Report for the same series. WGBH executive editor Ted Canova edited the series. WGBH senior engineer Antonio Oliart engineered the reports.

Martin was in New York on Tuesday evening for the awards ceremony.

“We are all very proud of Phillip. His energy, creativity and curiosity put him in the top ranks of his profession. We are all happy to have him reporting for WGBH and are proud to be associated with his work,” WGBH Radio general manager Phil Redo said. “I am very pleased that the New York Festivals and the UNDPI have recognized WGBH’s journalism. I congratulate Phillip and the entire WGBH News team for their continued commitment to telling the comprehensive, local stories that only local public radio can tell.”

The “Underground Trade” investigation and report was done in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and the Ford Foundation. During his investigation and reporting, Martin traveled in the U.S. and across Asia to explore the modern slave trade of human trafficking. After the original broadcast on WGBH Radio, Martin’s report was shared nationally on The Huffington Post.

Phillip Martin joined the WGBH News team in 2010. He is a Senior Fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2012 International Center for Journalists Ford Foundation Fellow. He has received a number of journalism honors, including the 2012 PASS Award, the 2012 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Ongoing Coverage (team award), the Margret and Hans Rey WGBH producer award, the 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, the 2010 Asian American Journalists Award for National Radio Reporting, the 2008 Ruben Salazar Award and the 2005 MABJ Radio Documentary Award. He is an adjunct professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Public Policy.

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1 Comment

  1. Those reports were the kind that, if you had been listening to it in the car and reached your destination, you stayed in the car to hear until the end. A wonderful, important piece of reporting, and a well-deserved honor.

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