New York Times launches web-only documentaries with Retro Report

The New York Times is launching a series of short, web-only documentaries with Retro Report, a nonprofit news organization that aims to investigate “the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media.”

The videos will air each Monday at the NYT’s baby boomer blog, “Booming,” and on Retro Report’s website. Each will be 10 to 15 minutes long and accompanied by a story by NYT reporter Michael Winerip. The first one, “The Voyage of the Mobro 4000,” looks at the garbage barge of 1987.

The NYT lifted the paywall from all of its video content a couple of weeks ago.

Winerip notes some of the upcoming topics that the documentaries will cover:

“In a coming Retro Report on crack babies — infants born to addicted mothers — we learn that warnings in the 1980s about these children being damaged for life were not supported by the research of the time or by more recent studies. We meet a former crack baby who is now a successful college graduate, with a family of her own. Another video examines the story of Tawana Brawley and her chief supporter, Al Sharpton, who put forth a story of racial violence that turned out to be false and hurt many innocent people. There are video reports on the Tailhook military sexual abuse scandal and the Y2K panic.”

Retro Report was founded earlier this year by Christopher Buck, a former TV editor and heir to the Subway sandwich chain. Kyra Darnton, a former 60 Minutes producer, is managing editor.