Athens, Ga. – A record 46 recipients of the University of Georgia’s 73rd Annual Peabody Awards were announced today on “CBS This Morning” and www.peabodyawards.com. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board from almost 1,100 entries, comprise the best in electronic media for the year 2013.
The latest Peabody recipients include a pair of high-profile political melodramas, Netflix’s corrosive House of Cards and ABC’s juicy Scandal; A Chef’s Life, a stereotype-cracking nonfiction serial about a farm-to-fork gourmet restaurant in North Carolina’s low country; Burka Avenger, an animated Pakistani series aimed at empowering girls; A Needed Response, a YouTube viral video created by two University of Oregon students that succinctly criticizes rape culture and champions r-e-s-p-e-c-t for women; and two distinctive probes of the dangers of brain injury in professional football, FRONTLINE’s League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis and ESPN’s Outside the Lines: NFL at a Crossroads: Investigating a Health Crisis.
“The quality of storytelling in electronic media continues to increase year-after-year, across platforms, producing organizations and nations,” said Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards, which are administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “The unprecedented number of awards we gave this year reflects this fact. There simply are a larger number of stories that deserve our attention as citizens and consumers. And what a wonderfully rich and satisfying set of stories we’ve called attention to this year!”
International Peabody winners include the Philippines’ GMA Network for coverage of the assault and aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan); The Returned, an eerie, elegant supernatural drama from France; the realistic, compelling Danish political serial Borgen; and BBC World News’ in-depth reporting from Inside Syria’s War.
Local Peabody recipients included CBS-owned WBZ-TV and WBZ Newsradio for their peerless extended coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing dragnet; KING-TV in Seattle for its revelations about nuclear-waste leaks and mismanagement at the Hanford, Washington, storage facility; Nashville station WTVF-TV’s reports about Tennessee officials’ involvement in shady business deals; and an exhaustive investigation of Louisiana political contributions-who gives, how much, and what does it buy-that combined the resources of New Orleans station WVUE-TV, The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com.
Other entertainment series honored included AMC’s Breaking Bad, which earned a second Peabody for its riveting final season; Netflix’s complex, character-driven prison drama Orange Is the New Black; Comedy Central’s racially shrewd sketch showcase Key & Peele; FX’s The Bridge, an intense, cross-cultural crime drama set on and around the border between Texas and Mexico; and two distinctly different BBC America offerings: the naturalistic mystery Broadchurch and the wildly fanciful Orphan Black, a bioethical thriller about clones.
Web-based winners included Hollow (www.hollowdocumentary.com), an imaginative, interactive site devoted to a struggling county in rural West Virginia, and A Short History of the Highrise (www.nytimes.com), a clever, highly visual tour of “vertical living.”
Issues of race and ethnicity were explored in several impressive recipients: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Latino Americans, both shown on PBS, traced the history and the ongoing influence of peoples whose presence here predates the forming of the United States. Ken Burns’ The Central Park Five, also on PBS, revisited an infamous New York rape case that wrongly sent five black and Latino teenagers to prison. National Public Radio reporter Michelle Norris’ The Race Card Project used six-word summations of listeners’ thoughts about race as the basis of remarkably telling feature reports.
A trio of documentaries addressed difficulties facing student and educators in poor, high-crime communities. This American Life’s two-part Harper High School on radio and PBS’s 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School provide richly nuanced stories of students coping with challenges from child-rearing to gun violence. Best Kept Secret,also shown on PBS, took viewers inside a poor Newark, N.J., school with an unexpectedly exemplary program for autistic and other special-needs students.
Culture and the arts were represented by such Peabody winners as TCM: Story of Film, which combined a 15-part retrospective with telecasts of more than 100 classic movies, and Great Performances: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, a tuneful celebration of the influence of composers such as Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein III and Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim had a documentary all to himself as well: HBO’s Six by Sondheim, which combined his ruminations on composing with archival and fresh performances of some of his greatest songs. CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown was recognized for its unique recipe for blending culinary and cultural reporting.
Documentary winners included HBO’s tender Life According to Sam, the story of a teenager dealing with an accelerated aging disease, and the cable network’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a frank report about a Catholic priest who abused more than 200 students at a Milwaukee school for deaf.
Other documentary winners included The Law in These Parts, a “POV” film exploring the alternative legal system Israel developed for governing its occupied Palestinian territories, and three Independent Lens productions: How to Survive a Plague chronicled the crucial role AIDS activists and organizations like ACT UP played in saving lives and hobbling the epidemic. The House I Live In took stock of what we have to show for our 40-year “war” on drugs, and The Invisible War assessed the shameful problem of rape in the U.S. military and why it persists.
A pair of documentaries from Al Jazerra America’s Fault Lines series demonstrated its broad reach and aggressive journalism. Haiti in a Time of Cholera examined the epidemic that has erupted since the 2010 earthquake and underscored the likelihood that U.N. peacekeepers are the source. Made in Bangladesh found evidence of prominent American retailers turning a blind eye to the dangerous practices of foreign subcontractors, practices that led to horrible tragedies like the clothing-factory fire in Bangladesh that killed more than 100 people.
Awards in news included a personal citation to Tom Brokaw, author and former anchor of NBC Nightly News, and another to the current NBC team for In Plain Sight: Poverty in America, a multi-platform assessment of poverty’s many faces and forms today. A Peabody went to One on One with Assad, a CBS This Morning segment in which co-host Charlie Rose civilly but persistently pressed Syria’s president for explanations of his war against his own countrymen. And the public radio series Reveal was honored for The VA’s Opiate Overload, a shocking report about overdose deaths a Veterans Administration hospitals.
A complete list of winners is now available at www.peabodyawards.com.
The Peabody medallions will be formally presented on May 19 at a luncheon ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Ira Glass, host and producer of “This American Life,” which now boasts five Peabodys, will be the emcee.
The Peabody Awards, the oldest in electronic media, are considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes. The Peabodys 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. For more information regarding the Peabody Awards program, see www.peabodyawards.com or follow @Peabody_ Awards on Twitter.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, digital and broadcast journalism, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management 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, see www.grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.
A complete list of winners follows below:
180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School (PBS)
National Black Programming Consortium, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS
Chronicling a year at Washington Metropolitan, aka DC Met, it’s an intimate, unvarnished portrait of a high-poverty high school and the challenges facing students, teachers and administrators.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (PBS)
Thirteen, Inkwell Films, Kunhardt McGee Productions in association with Ark Media
A long time coming, not to mention five years in the making, Gates’ history of African Americans, their trials, their triumphs and their ongoing influence on this nation, reaches back five centuries to find stories that inspire, unsettle, surprise and illuminate.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN)
CNN, Zero Point Zero Production Inc.
Whether Bourdain’s tireless search for new taste experiences takes him to Myanmar or Detroit, he never fails to find great stories to go with the food.
Best Kept Secret (PBS)
American Documentary / POV, BKS Films LLC
The “secret” at Newark’s poor John F. Kennedy High School is its unexpectedly resourceful program for special-needs students, especially autistic teens. This documentary – frank, poignant, never simplistic – immerses viewers in the struggles of three autistic kids and one dedicated teacher.
Borgen (DR1, Denmark)
Borgen is a Danish term for “government,” and this realistic, richly nuanced dramatic series is peerless in its depiction of how the machinery works. It’s also rumination on power, ambition, integrity, love and deal-making, with one of the most intriguing female protagonists in all the TV world.
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Sony Pictures Television
Through a stunning brand of visual storytelling and meticulous character development, we were able to explore the darkest chambers of a human heart in a way never before seen on TV. Over five seasons, Vince Gilligan made good on his promise to utterly transform Walter White from Mr. Chips into Scarface.
The Bridge (FX)
Shine America and FX Productions
A crime drama set in motion by a murder victim left literally on the border of West Texas and Northern Mexico, its rare, non-stereotypical depiction of two cultures rubbing against and informing each other is as fascinating as the mystery.
Broadchurch (BBC America)
A Kudos and Imaginary Friends Co-Production
A peaceful, picturesque seaside town in England is rattled to its core by the murder of a young boy in this intricately crafted, emotionally rich, endlessly surprising mystery series.
Burka Avenger (Geo Tez)
Smart, colorful and provocative, this Pakistani-produced television program about a super-heroine sends a clear message about female empowerment that has the potential to affect an entire generation.
The Central Park Five (PBS)
Florentine Films, WETA
A tragic story, finally told in full, The Central Park Five reexamines not only the case of black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were railroaded and wrongly imprisoned for a rape but the climate of fear and the media frenzy that surrounded their trial.
A Chef’s Life (PBS)
Markay Media in association with North Carolina ETV (SCETV)
A cooking/reality series revolving around a high-end, farm-to-fork restaurant in North Carolina’s low country, it’s made all the more appetizing by generous sides of local color, stereotype-defying rural neighbors and Southern food-lore.
Coverage of Boston Marathon Bombings (WBZ-TV, Boston, and WBZ Newsradio 1030)
WBZ-TV, WBZ Newsradio 1030
Out in force to cover the annual marathon, both WBZ-TV and Newsradio 1030 had a journalistic advantage when the bombs detonated. Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on the air providing wide-ranging, enterprising, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt. They become crucial sources not just to their city but to a stunned nation.
Coverage of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) (GMA Network Inc., Philippines)
GMA Networks Inc.
Facing logistical challenges and sharing in the national shock in the face of what may have been the most powerful typhoon is history, GMA news teams provided desperately needed spot news coverage and information, gaining strength and perspective as they worked, and followed up with solid reporting on the aftermath, heroic acts and relief efforts.
Fault Lines: Haiti in a Time of Cholera (Al Jazeera America)
Al Jazeera America
Nearly 8,000 Haitians have died of cholera since the island was devastated by an earthquake in 2010, and more than half a million others have been infected. Fault Lines presses for accountability as it reports mounting scientific evidence that U.N. peacekeepers were the source of the epidemic.
Fault Lines: Made in Bangladesh (Al Jazeera America)
Al Jazeera America
Probing a garment-factory fire in Bangladesh that left at least 119 people dead, Fault Lines discovered evidence that U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart, whose Faded Glory clothing brand was found in the ashes, often turn a “blind eye” to their subcontractors’ dangerous, cost-cutting practices.
FRONTLINE: League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (PBS)
FRONTLINE, Kirk Documentary Group
Undeterred by the National Football League’s defense, FRONTLINE’s investigative team produced a solidly-sourced, high-impact documentary about the extent of brain damage among players, a story still reverberating throughout the world of sports.
Great Performances: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy (PBS)
B’WAY Films LLC, Ghost Light Films, Albert M. Tapper and THIRTEEN for WNET
Historically fascinating and grandly entertaining, it’s a tune-filled dissertation on the incalculable influence of Jewish composers-from Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim to Stephen Schwartz- and Jewish musical idioms on the evolution of a great American art form.
Hanford’s Dirty Secrets (KING-TV, Seattle)
KING 5 Television
Centering on a leaking nuclear-waste storage tank in Washington state, the Seattle station’s expose of mismanagement, deception and waste of tax dollars resulted in a full review of the Hanford nuclear “reservation” by the U.S. Department of Energy and resignations at the company that manages the toxic site.
Hollow Interactive LLC
Experiential aurally and visually, the interactive website lets visitors immerse themselves in the lives of 30 residents of McDowell County, West Virginia, an economically stressed, shrinking American community both unique and emblematic.
House of Cards (Netflix)
Donen/Fincher/Roth, Trigger Street Productions Inc., Media Rights Capital, Netflix
By releasing an entire season of episodes at once, Netflix took binge viewing to a new level and obliterated the idea that a hit TV show needs a slot in prime time. Viewers can follow Frank Underwood’s political schemes at their own pace and immerse themselves in the show’s version of Washington, D.C., where desperation for power is the capital city’s lifeblood.
In Plain Sight: Poverty in America (NBC and www.plainsight.nbcnews.com)
Many faces and forms of poverty, some predictable, some startling, are highlighted in NBC News’ wide-ranging, multi-platform project, geared to the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of “war” on the scourge.
Independent Lens: How to Survive a Plague (PBS)
How to Survive a Plague LLC, Public Square Films, Impact Partners, Little Punk
A real-life medical thriller, David France’s documentary evokes the alarm and enterprise surrounding AIDS in the late 1980s, when the activists in groups such as ACT UP and TAG took their fates into their own hands and changed the course of a global pandemic.
Independent Lens: The House I Live In (PBS)
Charlotte Street Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS), BBC, ZDF/ARTE, NHK Japan
Forty years and 45 million arrests after the U.S. declared war on them, illegal drugs are cheaper, purer and more available than ever. What went wrong with the campaign? “The House I Live In” counts the ways, not just with hard statistics but with powerful human stories.
Independent Lens: The Invisible War (PBS)
Chain Camera Productions, Independent Television Service (ITVS), Girls Club Entertainment, RISE films, Fork Films, Cuomo Cole Productions, Canal Plus
With powerful interviews with rape survivors at its core, “The Invisible War” is the most exhaustive report to date on the extent and causes of sexual assault in the U.S. military.
Inside Syria’s War (BBC World News)
BBC World News America
From gruesome mass-murder scenes outside Homs to displaced children living in caves, the consistent, up-close coverage of Syria’s civil war and its human toll by BBC World News journalists had no equal in 2013.
Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
It’s like Abbott and Costello meet Richard Pryor when the duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele fearlessly apply their mischievous minds and satirical savvy to racially aware sketches both broad and incisive.
Latino Americans (PBS)
WETA, LPB (Latino Public Broadcasting), Bosch & Company, ITVS
A revelation no doubt for many viewers, the documentary series’ six fascinating installments traced a people’s history that’s older than the U.S. itself and showed how Latinos, rendered to foreigners in a land their ancestors colonized, are now reshaping it.
The Law in These Parts (PBS)
The seemingly lighthearted title notwithstanding, Israeli filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s documentary is serious, resoundingly significant work-a long, hard look at the legal system his homeland created in 1967 to govern the newly occupied Palestinian territories and what it has meant and still means to both sides in this lasting conflict.
Life According to Sam (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films and Fine Films LLC
Sam Berns, a teenager bearing up to the ravages of a disease that causes accelerated aging with amazing grace, humor and thoughtfulness, is the subject of this great, informative, humane and humbling documentary.
Louisiana Purchased (WVUE-TV, New Orleans, and NOLA.com)
WVUE-TV & NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Plenty big, never easy, this extensive joint TV-newspaper investigation of Louisiana campaign financing-who gives and gets what-put influence peddlers and buyers on notice and provided TV-news operations around the country a template for ambitious digging.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (HBO)
Jigsaw Productions, HBO Documentary Films, Wider Film Projects and Below the Radar Films
Harrowing and infuriating, Alex Gibney’s investigative documentary focuses on one of the earliest and ugliest cases in the Roman Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal: a Milwaukee priest who abused more than 200 deaf children at a school he oversaw.
A Needed Response (YouTube/Samantha Stendal)
Samantha Stendal, Aaron Blanton
Short, simple and spot-on in its critique of rape culture, the ingenious PSA by two University of Oregon students takes just 25 seconds to make its point that real men treat women with respect.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Questions of Influence (WTVF-TV, Nashville)
In a series of reports capped by an hour-long prime-time special, WTVF’s investigators revealed that running Tennessee state government “like a business,” as the governor had publically pledged, in reality meant sweetheart deals, no-bid contracts and ethical lapses. A scathing state audit was just one of the results.
One-on-One with Assad (CBS)
CBS This Morning, CBS News
In what was surely the biggest journalistic “get” of 2013, CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose sat down with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Under Rose’s polite but persistent questioning, Assad gave us a look into the mind of one of the world’s most vicious warmongers, a glimpse of banality and evil.
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Lionsgate Television, Netflix
Orange Is the New Black turns a notorious drive-in genre-women behind bars-into a complex, riveting character study rich in insights about femininity, race, power, and the politics, inside and outside prison walls, of mass incarceration.
Orphan Black (BBC America)
Temple Street Productions in association with BBC America and SPACE
It’s all about cloning, but Orphan Black is one of a kind-a super-charged, stylized sci-fi action serial that ponders identity, humanity, bioethics and genetic research when it occasionally stops for breath. Tatiana Mislany is a marvel in the title role.
Outside the Lines: NFL at a Crossroads: Investigating a Health Crisis (ESPN)
Its close business association with the professional football notwithstanding, ESPN produced a tough, wide-reaching documentary on the concussion crisis in the National Football League and its efforts to downplay growing bodies of scientific evidence and brain-injured player complaints.
The Race Card Project (NPR’s Morning Edition)
The Race Card Project, NPR News, NPR’s Morning Edition
Undercutting the term’s political, pejorative meaning, Michelle Norris’ website project and NPR series defines “race card” literally, inviting listeners to share six-word summations of their racial ideas and experiences that became the basis of compelling reports about race, pride, prejudice and identity.
Reveal: The VA’s Opiate Overload (Public Radio)
The Center for Investigative Reporting, Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Reveal exposed a staggering upswing-270 percent over a dozen years-in opiate prescriptions at Veterans Administration hospitals, which has led to an overdose rate among VA patients more than twice the national average.
The Returned(“Les Revenants”) (SundanceTV)
Haut et Court TV, Canal +, Jimmy, Cine +, Backup Films
Thoughtfully conceptualized, exquisitely photographed and sensitively acted, this supernatural drama explores loss, grief, memory, guilt and notions of afterlife as deceased residents of a picturesque mountain town in France seemingly return. It’s elegant, it’s zombie-free and it’s still unnerving.
Loosely based on the exploits of a real Washington, D.C. “fixer,” turbocharged by Kerry Washington’s star turn, Scandal is part West Wing and part Dynasty, an exaggerated, outrageous, fun-house reflection of the real-life political shenanigans that are loathed and jeered.
A Short History of the Highrise (www.nytimes.com)
The New York Times, The National Film Board of Canada
With text, games, antique photos and three storybook-style animated shorts-“Mud,” “Concrete” and “Glass”-the interactive website entertainingly explores 2,500 years of “vertical living.” A fourth feature, “Home,” catalogues images of multi-story life submitted by the public.
Six by Sondheim (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films and Sabella Entertainment
The “father” of the modern Broadway musical bares some of his art and soul in the engrossing, entertaining documentary. It combines his candid reflections, archival footage and fresh interpretations of six of his iconic songs, including Send in the Clowns.
TCM: The Story of Film (TCM)
Turner Classics’ monumental project combined 15 installments of Mark Cousins’ gorgeously constructed and richly layered historical tour of world cinema, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, with full showings of 119 of the movies it covers.
This American Life: Harper High School (WBEZ Chicago 91.5)
WBEZ Chicago’s This American Life
A trio of This American Life reporters embedded themselves for five month at Harper, a Chicago high school where gun violence was epidemic, and produced a pair of hour-long documentaries that were vivid, unblinking, poignant and sometimes gut-wrenching.
Tom Brokaw: Personal Award
A personal Peabody is given to Tom Brokaw, the longtime reporter and anchor of NBC Nightly News. With his TV projects and celebrated books like The Greatest Generation, the anchor emeritus has only enhanced his reputation since he left the desk in 2004.