181 episodes

The documentary unit of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks) has produced more than 140 programs on topics such as health, history, education and justice.

APM Reports Documentaries American Public Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 87 Ratings

The documentary unit of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks) has produced more than 140 programs on topics such as health, history, education and justice.

    The Jail Tapes in the Dumpster

    The Jail Tapes in the Dumpster

    Sixteen-year-old Myon Burrell was sent to prison for life after a stray bullet killed an 11-year-old girl in Minneapolis in 2002. Amy Klobuchar, who was Minneapolis’ top prosecutor, brought first-degree murder charges as part of a national crackdown on gang violence — a crackdown that engulfed young men of color.   

    Burrell maintained his innocence for 18 years in prison. AP reporter Robin McDowell spent a year looking into Burrell’s case and found that multiple people had lied about Burrell’s involvement in the shooting, and police didn’t talk to his alibi witnesses. In December 2020, the state commuted Burrell’s sentence, allowing him to walk free. 

    This end to a prison sentence is rare: Burrell’s case was the first time in at least 28 years that Minnesota commuted a sentence for a violent crime case. But the factors that put Burrell in prison are not rare at all. According to The Sentencing Project, there are 10,000 people serving life sentences in the U.S. for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Half of them are Black. Burrell’s longshot reveals just how difficult it is to right a wrong in our criminal justice system. How many other Myons are there? 

    • 50 min
    The Bad Place

    The Bad Place

    More than 40 states have sent their most vulnerable kids to facilities run by a for-profit company named Sequel. Many of those kids were abused there. Read more.

    • 51 min
    Black at Mizzou: Confronting race on campus

    Black at Mizzou: Confronting race on campus

    Lauren Brown says college was "culture shock." Most of the students at her high school were Black, but most of the students at the University of Missouri were white. And she got to the university in the fall of 2015, when Black students led protests in response to a string of racist incidents. The protests put Mizzou in the national news.

    But the news stories didn't match what Lauren saw. They made it seem like racism on campus was an aberration. And they made it seem like Black student organizing was new at Mizzou. What Lauren saw was "Black Mizzou," a thriving campus-within-a-campus that Black students have built over decades to make the university a more welcoming place.

    • 52 min
    What the Words Say

    What the Words Say

    Everyone agrees that the goal of reading instruction is for children to understand what they read. The question is: how does a little kid get there? Emily Hanford explores what reading scientists have figured out about how reading comprehension works and why poverty and race can affect a child’s reading development. Read the full story.

    • 51 min
    Covid on Campus

    Covid on Campus

    The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest challenge to American higher education in decades. Some small regional colleges that were already struggling won’t survive. Other schools, large and small, are rethinking how to offer an education while keeping people safe.

    This program explores how institutions are handling the crisis, and how students are trying to navigate a major disruption in their college years.










    Colleges on the brink



    The long tradition of students attending small, residential liberal arts colleges around the country was already shaky before the pandemic. Students are choosing less expensive options and more practical degrees. Experts warn that 10 percent of American colleges — about 200 or more institutions — are on the verge of going under. The pandemic is accelerating that trend.





    A digital divide



    The pandemic is making getting through college harder for students on the wrong side of the digital divide. In rural Arizona, when campuses closed, some students couldn’t log on from home, because they had no access to the internet. A local sheriff flew laptops and hotspots to community college students on the Navajo Nation.





    Reopening in a virus hotspot



    Colleges and universities are under pressure to reopen, but bringing students back on campus safely means dealing with dizzying logistics. As the virus surges in Miami, a large commuter campus gets ready.

    • 52 min
    Soldiers for Peace

    Soldiers for Peace

    During the Vietnam War, roughly one in five GIs actively opposed the conflict. Many servicemen and women came to believe they were not liberating the country from communism but acting as agents of tyranny. In the combat zone, they rebelled against their commanders' orders. At home, they staged massive protests. Soldiers for Peace offers a first-person look at how GIs were transformed by Vietnam, and the strategies veterans and active-duty personnel used to bring the war to an end.

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 Ratings

Jen wikki ,

Must listen

Thank you Lauren Brown for sharing your and other Black students’ experiences at Mizzou. May it inspire us all do (much) better.

karibell2 ,

Great podcast

I love history so I love this podcast

Peapod the Pocket Squirrel ,

Well reported and interesting

Always enjoy listening to this one. The series on Japanese internment was especially riveting.

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