(press release) Thirty-eight recipients of the 71st Annual Peabody Awards were announced today by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board as the best in electronic media for the year 2011, were named in a ceremony in the Peabody Gallery on the UGA campus.
The latest Peabody recipients reflect variety in content, genre and sources of origination.
Congratulations to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria who garnered a Peabody for CNN’s GPS series highlighting Zakaria’s commentary and analysis regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as a special report, Fixing the American Dream, addressing problems with the U.S. educational system.
The winners included Homeland, Showtime’s psychologically intense anti-terrorist drama; the classic game show Jeopardy!;TED.com, a website devoted to making creative thinkers’ ideas available to one and all; remembrances of 9/11 collected by StoryCorps and broadcast on National Public Radio; and Toxic Secrets, a powerful series of reports by Phoenix’s KPHO-TV about American soldiers and South Korean children exposed to Agent Orange three decades ago.
My Perestroika, a POV documentary that examined Russia’s difficult transition from communism through the prism of five schoolmates who lived through it, was honored with a Peabody, as was Intersexions, a South African public-service drama aimed at curbing the spread of AIDS.
Other international recipients included A Year in the Clouds, a Taiwanese documentary about life in a remote mountain village; People’s Republic of Cheating and Misjudged Cases, a pair of investigative reports from Hong Kong’s TVB; Fuji Television’s The Untold Stories of the Tsunami in Japan, which emphasized human interest as much as gobsmacking flood footage; Somalia: Land of Anarchy, a BBC1 report from deep inside a country decimated by never-ending war; and NHK’s Surviving the Tsunami, a meticulous post-mortem of the tidal wave and nuclear disaster with an eye to lessons for the future.
The anti-tyranny demonstrations in the Middle East, flaring up like wildfire, inspired some of the most impressive news reporting of the year. CNN earned a Peabody with comprehensive “Arab Spring” coverage that included the reports Egypt – Wave of Discontentand Uprising in Libya. National Public Radio’s Arab Spring from Egypt to Libya, vividly reported by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, was cited for its excellence as was Inside Syria, a trio of enterprising undercover reports by Clarissa Ward for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. Al Jazeera English was cited for its wide-ranging coverage of the escalating wave of protests it labeled the “Arab Awakening.”
Other entertainment programs receiving Peabodys for 2011 include HBO’s Game of Thrones, a fantasy-drama that immerses viewers in a richly imagined dark-ages society, and Tremé, a note-perfect evocation of everyday life, love and music in post-Katrina New Orleans. NBC’s Parks and Recreation was cited for its sweet and prickly take on friendship and rivalry within a small town’s parks department, and Portlandia, shown on IFC, was recognized for the freshness and amiability of its send-ups of Oregon’s trendy city.
Austin City Limits, public television’s venerable showcase for roots, rock, country and pop music, was voted an institutional Peabody for its eclectic taste and unflagging commitment to quality. And Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report won its second Peabody for its deadpan anchor’s “Super PAC” segments lampooning the rise of megabucks politics.
Along with TED.com, the Internet winners for 2011 were BBC.com, a news site that draws on reports from the BBC’s 72 overseas news bureaus; the On Location posts on www.globalpost.com, a site devoted to world events neglected by other media outlets; and a pair of online reports created under the banner of Human Rights Watch, Acting Up: Russia’s Civil Society (www.newyorker.com) and Gold’s Costly Dividend: The Porgera Joint Venture (www.hrw.org).
The documentary honorees underlined the robust, kaleidoscopic state of the non-fiction form. They included Triangle Fire, Freedom Riders and Stonewall Uprising, a trio of historical documentaries presented under the banner of American Experience; Showtime’s Rebirth, a poignant film about five different people who experienced and rebounded from the 9/11 attacks; and Earth Made of Glass, an HBO documentary that examined the painful legacy of Rwanda’s genocide. Bhutto, a comprehensive Independent Lensbiography of martyred Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto, was awarded a Peabody, as was Charles and Ray Eames – The Architect and the Painter, an appropriately creative American Masters portrait of the great designing couple.
Other news programs cited by the Peabody board included Operation Deep Freeze, a report by Cleveland’s WEWS-TV about Navy personnel unknowingly exposed to atomic radiation while on duty in Antarctica; Their Crime, Your Dime, a high-impact investigation of food stamp and welfare fraud by Seattle’s KING-TV; and Desert Underwater, a thorough, comprehensible examination of why the housing bubble burst hit Las Vegas so hard by KLAS-TV.
ABC News Brian Ross Investigates was cited for Peace Corps – A Trust Betrayed, a stunning expose of widespread sexual abuse and official cover-ups within the esteemed humanitarian agency. Who Killed Chea Vichea?, from Denver’s KBDI-TV, didn’t let a limited budget or official resistance derail its investigation of the murder of a top labor leader in Cambodia, a major producer of low-cost clothing. A Peabody also went to Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families, a three-part NPR investigation that found more than 30 states flaunting federal laws that forbid the separation of Native American children from their families or tribes.
In the realm of public service, a Peabody was awarded to CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, the program that caps a year-round program created to identify and reward people around the world who affected the lives of others in a significant way.
“As media systems continue to expand and intensify, the Peabody Award will continue its search for excellence and significance,” Newcomb said. “Programs such as those honored this year will always be noted for outstanding achievement and they will always serve as models for the best work yet to come.”
The awards will be formally presented at a luncheon ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on May 21. Sir Patrick Stewart, star of two Peabody winners, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Macbeth, will be the host. For ticket information, contact Sandy Friedman at 917-281-4718 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peabodys, the oldest awards in broadcasting, are considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media. The Peabody Awards recognize excellence and meritorious work by radio and television stations, networks, webcasters, producing organizations and individuals. The 16-member Peabody Board is a distinguished panel of television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts. Selection is made by the Board following review by special screening committees of UGA faculty, students, and staff.
All entries become a permanent part of the Peabody Archive in the University of Georgia Libraries. The collection is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected moving-image archives. For more information about the Peabody Archive or the Peabody Awards, visit www.peabody.uga.edu.
Established in 1915, the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, seewww.grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.
Photos: AALDEF 2012 Justice in Action Honorees Parkin Lee, Jean Koh Peters and Fareed Zakaria
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