There are 12 million people living unlawfully in the United States. In this episode of “Vanguard,” correspondent Mariana van Zeller explores the lives of two of them: a senior at UCLA named Ilse who crossed the border from Mexico in the trunk of a car at age 3 and a strawberry picker named Filemon who lives in an Oxnard flophouse with 19 other people so that he can send money back to his family in Oaxaca. In their stories, van Zeller finds testament to both the power of the American Dream and the absolute failure of American border policies. 

In this Peabody Award-winning documentary, correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to South Florida—the “Colombia of prescription drugs”—to expose a bustling pill pipeline that stretches from the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale to the rolling hills of Appalachia. “The OxyContin Express” features intimate access with pill addicts, prisoners and law enforcement as each struggles with a lethal national epidemic. Produced by Darren Foster, Mariana van Zeller and Cerissa Tanner.

In “City of God, Guns & Gangs,” correspondent Mariana van Zeller investigates Brazil’s bold new initiative to transform Rio de Janeiro’s dangerous slums (called favelas) before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death. As an anti-gay movement spreads across the continent, gay Africans and their families face an increasingly uncertain future of isolation, imprisonment or even execution. Produced by Darren Foster and Alex Simmons.

Four young journalists win $10,000 Livingston Awards

The Livingston prizes for local, national and international reporting are limited to journalists under the age of 35 and are the largest all-media, general-reporting prizes in the country.

This year’s winners are:
* Sarah Fenske, Phoenix New Times (Local Reporting)
* Mariana van Zeller and John Henion, Current TV (National Reporting)
* Matt Katz, Philadelphia Inquirer (International Reporting)

National reporting; Mariana van Zeller and John Henion of Current TV, for “Rape on the Reservation.” Columnist and author Ellen Goodman introduced the winners’ examination of the increased incidence of rape committed by members of South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian reservation against young women residents. The report brought to light the violent epidemic and the disturbing acceptance of this behavior by perpetrators who saw these crimes as part of normal behavior.

(Source: poynter.org)

"The OxyContin Express" Wins a Peabody Award!

This morning we learned that "The OxyContin Express" will be the recipient of a Peabody Award. It’s one of the highest acheivements in our field and we’re deeply honored for being recognized and in such esteemed company.

But we don’t want to let this moment pass without acknowledging the tremendous debt we owe to the people who helped us make the film. Journalism is a strange business. We sometimes ask people to share deeply personal parts of their lives in exchange for a very idealistic notion: that somehow their personal story will help to serve a greater good.

Maureen and her son Tod took that brave leap of faith. And their cooperation and incredible honesty provided the emotional heart of this piece.

In addition, there are many people who shared their valuable time and expertise to help us understand prescription drug abuse and what was going on in Florida and Kentucky. Several of them appeared in the documentary, many did not, but their contribution was no less valuable.

In Florida, we’d like to thank Sgt. Lisa McElhaney, Sgt. Richard Pisanti and the Broward County Sheriff’s Department; Representative Kelly Skidmore; Dr. Sanford Silverman and the Task Force for Prescription Drug Abuse; Joel Kaufman and the United Way of Broward County; Pastor John Ramseur and Calvary House.

In Kentucky, Greenup County Sheriff Keith Cooper was all southern charm and hospitallity. He opened the doors to everything, including the prison where Dawna, Jessica, Holly, Tiffany, Tim and Terry graciously shared their stories.

Thanks also to Lt. Govenor Dan Mangiardo, Dr. John Morgan and Valerie Campbell at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead. And next door in West By God Virginia, Dr. Carl Rolly Sullivan at the home of the Mountaineers provided incredible insight into addiction and recovery.

This story would have never make it off the ground without the support and care of the people who are living it everyday. We owe this incredible honor to them. And hope that in some way the piece made a difference.

Thank you!

—Mariana, Darren and Cerissa

"The OxyContin Express"

In this Peabody Award-winning “Vanguard” documentary, correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to South Florida, the “Colombia of prescription drugs”, to expose a bustling pill pipeline that stretches from the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale to the rolling hills of Appalachia. “The OxyContin Express” features intimate access with pill addicts, prisoners and law enforcement as each struggles with a growing national epidemic.