The USA Network documentary American Character Along Highway 50, which follows veteran journalist and newscaster Tom Brokaw on his quest to capture the changing face of America, was produced by Martha Spanninger '76. The documentary, which premiered on January 18, is the culmination of near a year's worth of travel to communities along U.S. Highway 50, a route running from the eastern shore of Maryland to northern California. Periodic dispatches had aired throughout the year.
Spanninger praises the experience of working on the documentary: "It was quite a journey - great to meet Americans all along the way facing daunting challenges with remarkable strength, self reliance, good humor, and a healthy skepticism about how much can be accomplished in Washington DC. Somehow through it all so many maintain an enduring belief that things will get better." She says that the production aspect, too, was positive: "It was a privilege to travel with Tom Brokaw - the best there is. He is a treasure and a pleasure."
The entire documentary is available to view online, as are individual dispatches. The program will be repeated on January 29 at midnight, February 6 at 9:00 a.m., February 7 at 1:00 a.m., and February 12 at 9:00 a.m.
Before joining this project, Spanninger was the senior supervising producer of the National Public Television show NOW. She is a member of the Swarthmore College Board of Managers.