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Producer / Director / Writer / Journalist


Kate McMahon is an award-winning producer, writer and director of documentary films, news, podcasts, print and digital stories who has received several awards and nominations for her work. Kate has contributed to more than 50 hours of national documentary and long-format news programming, primarily for PBS, since she began her career in 1998 as an Associate Producer for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  Kate's recent work includes a 4-part documentary series about behavioral science, Hacking Your Mind (PBS, September 2020); FRONTLINE: Coronavirus Pandemic (PBS< April, 2020) and three PBS NewsHour segments on the Oregon wildfires. She directs and co-produces documentaries for the PBS series FRONTLINE; independent films, digital channels and PBS stations. Her recent work includes, The Doctor Fix: A New Era of Modern Medicine (PBS stations 2017); FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War (updated, 2015); Oregon Field Guide; Oregon Art Beat (2015); and, The Programmers – a trilogy of documentary shorts about pioneering women in computing (2015.) Documentaries include FRONTLINE: Life and Death in Assisted Living (2013); FRONTLINE: Nuclear Aftershocks (2012); FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War (original broadcast in 2010); FRONTLINE: Sick Around America (2009) and FRONTLINE: Sick Around the World (2008). In 2008, Kate’s co-produced a two-hour historical documentary, Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency for PBS. In 2004 Kate associate produced the Oscar-nominated film ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room and in 2005 she co-produced FRONTLINE: The Meth Epidemic.  In 2001, while working at ABC-NEWS Nightline producing the PBS series Life 360, Kate covered the tragic events of 9/11 for Peter Jennings in New York City.  She went on to work for NOW with Bill Moyers covering the nexus of business and politics in Washington, D.C. Her on-going production of Inside the Psychologist’s Studio is a popular web series for the Association for Psychological Science.  Outside of producing documentaries, Kate has produced and reported public radio programs, and written articles in Metro Parent Magazine. 


Kate is a visiting lecturer at Portland State University, Portland Community College, Clackamas Community College and Linfield College. Her second language is Spanish, and she participates as a panelist for journalism and documentary conferences, mentors aspiring journalism professionals and is former Vice President of the Women in Film-Portland board of directors.

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