Saturday, November 18, 2023

Rob Burgess - Coverage of Peoples Temple and Jonestown


Today is a grim, but important anniversary. It was 45 years ago today that the Jonestown tragedy took place. I have covered this story extensively over the years, and while this event is well known, it is not well understood. Here are the stories, columns and podcasts I've produced on the subject over the years:

In 2008, I interviewed survivor Tracy Diaz. She and her family were among the Peoples Temple members who attempted to leave with Rep. Leo Ryan before they were ambushed:

This is the follow-up story announcing the premiere of the upcoming CNN documentary:

This is the CNN documentary hosted by Soledad O'Brien, "Escape From Jonestown," which premiered Nov. 13, 2008, and featured Tracy:

Better understanding this story has really put me off the phrase "drink the Kool-Aid." Which is why I wrote this column:

On my podcast, The Rob Burgess Show, I interviewed survivor Eugene Smith, who had just published a book about his experiences:

I later recorded another podcast with author Jeff Guinn, who has written books about Jonestown, Waco, Manson and much more:

If you're still interested in learning more, I highly recommend visiting the Jonestown Institute website, which is run by Rebecca Moore, who lost two sisters in Jonestown. I interviewed Rebecca for my first story and this website is an invaluable resource:

So far the best documentary I've seen on the subject aired in 2006 on PBS and is called, "Jonestown: The Life And Death Of Peoples Temple." Eugene Smith and Rebecca Moore were also interviewed for this:

Also, I have uploaded my archive of Peoples Temple archival newspaper clippings and original source material here: