After starting as a general assignment reporter and obit writer for small city newspapers in Ohio and Tennessee, Tom Jennings spent several years as a business journalist in London and Washington before moving into documentary television production in 1996.
Since then he has worked on dozens of films and produced documentaries covering a spectrum of subjects, from the science of heart transplantation to hard investigations into disaster aid graft, big-city police cover-ups and international intelligence agency failures. He has written, produced and directed films that have appeared on PBS, HBO, National Geographic and Discovery and has collaborated with the most esteemed names in journalism.
Jennings has been producing for PBS FRONTLINE since 2009, when he first collaborated with the investigative reporting group ProPublica. His resulting film, “Law and Disorder,” about police shootings of civilians during the week after Katrina, won the prestigious George Polk Award for investigative television reporting and was nominated for an Emmy Award. Jennings subsequently produced “Doctor Hotspot” (2012) and “Being Mortal” (2015) with surgeon and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande and the Emmy-nominated “A Perfect Terrorist” (2011), and its sequel, “American Terrorist (2015)”, again with ProPublica. He was a producer for Rain Media on the 2012 landmark economy miniseries, “Money, Power & Wall Street,” which also won a George Polk Award. Jennings has also worked with Frontline to develop new documentary mediums, from iterative on-line reporting and interactive productions to experiments with virtual reality.
In addition to two Polk Awards, Jennings has also won two national Emmy Awards, the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and four Writers Guild of America Awards.
Jennings teaches documentary writing and production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is producer-in-residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is also a professor at Columbia University and Cooper Union.