The Faces, Voices and Gestures Behind the Print Quotes

I’ve written fairly extensively about the interactive interviews I’ve been helping PBS Frontline with. The latest example is a pair of interactive videos in the mix of the Frontline documentary Policing the Police 2020, which was a follow-up of the 2016 documentary Policing the Police.

The videos are conversations between the same two people – New Yorker writer and historian Jelani Cobb and Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras Baraka – five years apart.

Here’s Phil Bennett’s take on the two-part discussion, in the form of a print article. The story quotes liberally from the video interviews and each quote is linked directly to the quote in the full context of the source video.

So when Bennett quotes Cobb saying, for instance, “There’s a police car for each of us,” Cobb remembered.

Torso shot of Cobb with a window beside him on the left, and headshot of Barack on the right.

Screenshots from Cobb’s first interview with Baraka (left).

Readers can click on “remembered” to see and hear the quote.

Bennett’s story focuses on what’s changed in the past five years. Readers can see how the conversation went in 2015 versus 2020 and how the mayor and historian, who are also old friends, sound and look as they talk about the present five years apart.

Here are a pair of Baraka quotes that Bennett pointed to, from 2015, and the second from 2020.

“The police department systemically has been used as a weapon against working people and poor people in this country,” he told Cobb in 2015.

“Our perspective is at a different level than other people’s perspectives. For example, I think defunding is necessary, right?” he said. “I think it’s necessary to begin to divert funding from police organizations to other kind of opportunity in a community: social services, other kind of things like that.

Here’s one more interactive quote from the story – I’ll leave you to guess which year Baraka said this before you click to find out.

Headshot of Cobb against a blurred green background on the left, and torso shot of Barack In front of the building on the right.

Screenshots from Cobb’s second interview with Baraka (left).

“Growing up in Newark, you’ve experienced some level of trauma,” Baraka said.

For the full treatment take a read through Bennett’s story, clicking liberally to see and hear the quotes in the full context of the video interviews.