Last spring, Al Jazeera America announced a partnership with Chicago-based Kartemquin Films (The InterruptersThe New Americans) on a six-part documentary series that will explore the hopes, fears and realities of low-wage American workers. The result, Hard Earned, slated to air beginning May 3, looks at the lives of five struggling families, representing a diversity of races, ages, industries and regions.

Al Jazeera America began conversations with Kartemquin early on—even before the channel’s launch in August 2013—on how to make an impact with stories that dig deep below the surface of major contemporary social issues. The producing team at Al Jazeera America singled out Kartemquin for its renown for finding compelling stories and characters to both humanize social issues and foster a richer appreciation for them. Click here to read the full story