The Peabody Media Center and the University of Georgia have named six winners of this year’s Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Awards for outstanding digital storytelling released in 2016. The programs use 3-D modeling, virtual reality, interactive websites and video games to address stories covering a range of issues from torture in prison and childhood cancer to transgender dating and identity.
The winners will be celebrated at a May 19 luncheon at Hotel Eventi in New York City. Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, will serve as host for the event, which will be streamed via Facebook Live.
Brown has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, most recently as an award-winning anchor and correspondent for NBC News and CNN. At CNN, she anchored a weekday primetime news program from 2007-2010 focusing on politics. During her 11-year tenure with NBC, she co-anchored the weekend edition of Today from 2003-2007 and served as White House correspondent during President George W. Bush’s first term.
The 2016 Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award recipients by category are:
• Digital journalism: “Doctors and Sex Abuse” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) http://doctors.ajc.com. Multimedia, creative graphics and an intuitive interface explore an investigation into doctors and sexual abuse, setting a new standard for a traditional medium that is increasingly shifting into digital spaces.
• Interactive documentary: Saydnaya (Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture) https://saydnaya.amnesty.org/. Architectural and acoustic modeling provide an unprecedented look-and feel-inside an infamous torture prison in northern Syria while raising awareness in an attempt to end the brutal practice.
• Mobile: “Phallaina” (Small Bang Studio, France Televisions Nouvelles Ecritures and Oikos Agency) http://phallaina.nouvelles-ecritures.francetv.fr/phallaina_en.php. A unique interpretation of the graphic novel that seamlessly transfers an old art form into digital space through parallax scrolling, mind-bending panel transitions and creative sound design.
• Video games: “That Dragon, Cancer” (Numinous Games) http://www.thatdragoncancer.com/. The true, tragic story of a 4-year-old’s lifelong battle with the disease told in a beautifully poetic gameplay environment. Archival voice recordings and interactive exploration guide players through artful reinterpretations of real events for a lesson in empathy and strength.
• Virtual reality/360: “Pearl” (Google Spotlight Stories with Evil Eye Pictures) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqCH4DNQBUA. Using innovative 360-degree format and animation, viewers are fully immersed into the heartwarming story-and theme song-of a father-daughter duo chasing their dreams as told from the perspective of their car.
• Webisodes: “Her Story” (Speed of Joy) http://www.herstoryshow.com/season-1/. An illuminating web series with narrative weight usually reserved for lengthier formats, “Her Story” follows two trans women navigating relationships and identity in Los Angeles. The result is an important reframing of trans representation in media.