OF ‘BEYOND THE HEADLINES: THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL WITH GRETCHEN CARLSON’ ON LIFETIME
How did your arrangement with Lifetime come about to do documentaries such as “Beyond the Headlines: The College Admissions Scandal With Gretchen Carlson,” which run adjacent to dramatized TV-movies about the same situations?
For me, this is my favorite thing to do. I love going to real-life movies or watching them on TV, then I’m constantly on my phone or my laptop saying, “Is this really true? Did this really happen?” I’m always wanting more information; my inquisitive mind and curious soul are why I’ve been a journalist for more than 25 years, but I specifically like this genre.
What are the challenges of doing such documentaries, which have to coordinate with other Lifetime programming and also remain timely?
These come together very quickly, and there are also many other entities interested in focusing on these stories that continue to develop. I think the college admissions scandal is just at the tip of the iceberg right now. That would be my perception as a journalist, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many other scandals that came out of it.
We speak to a college counselor who doesn’t stick to the talking points. She really lays it on the line and tells us what’s really going on in the admissions process, and I think it’s extremely valuable information. It’s kept so hush-hush as to how the process actually works.
With many of the principals caught up in legalities related to the college admissions matter, how did you find other people to interview?
Only a very few people have been sentenced, so lawyers probably aren’t going to recommend that (their clients) speak before they have more finality to their situations. However, we do talk to a family whose son is a gifted swimmer, and they attended several meetings with (The Key founder and CEO) Rick Singer, who was allegedly recruiting families to work with him.
This family was not able financially to do it, and we have a very emotional discussion with them. To a certain extent, they’re relieved that they weren’t caught up in the process ... though at the time, it didn’t feel so good to them, simply because they didn’t have the means.