Jan. 30, 2012 at 8:26pmFrontline

Post Mortem

I love Frontline. They do some of the very best investigative journalism around. And tomorrow evening is no exception. 

KSPS will air Frontline’s Post Mortem Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 9p.m.


When you go to journalism school and take investigative journalism they teach you what area are ripe for investigations. One of those areas is that of the process death investigation.

People usually don’t realize that investigating death in this country is done for the most part, by a coroner or medical examiner who may, or may not, have a medical or scientific background. There is no standard, no solitary system followed throughout the country and it varies greatly from state to state. Coroners can be elected or appointed and many aren’t doctors. There are also medical examiners who are usually medical doctors, but not necessarily forensic pathologists trained in how to investigate death.

In this program, Frontline exposes … with the help of NPR and ProPublica … the extent of the trouble death investigations are in across the country. Frontline and NPR and ProPublica have been working on these stories for an entire year after a blue ribbon panel, created by the National Academy of Sciences two years ago, pointed out the absence of oversight in the performance of coroners and medical examiners.

Each state is different as I learned back in Journalism School, and you may or may not know that Washington State is not like some states with only one system, it is actually a mixture of medical examiners and coroner offices.

So tune in for this very topical program, I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot about death investigations.


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