Campus News

Jeffrey P. Jones picked to guide UGA’s Peabody Awards

Jeffrey P. Jones

Television scholar will succeed Horace Newcomb as director in July

Athens, Ga. – Jeffrey P. Jones, a television scholar and author, will become director of the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Awards in July, succeeding Horace Newcomb, who is retiring after heading the program for 12 years.

“The Peabody Awards are such a distinctive award in American broadcasting and electronic media,” Jones said. “They are a beacon not of consumer taste, culture or even artistic craftsmanship, but of civic value and community contributions. The Peabodys celebrate the narratives that shape our common humanity.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the University of Georgia and the Peabody Awards program in continuing this historical legacy of recognizing the best that electronic media have to offer us as national and global citizens.”

Currently an associate professor at Old Dominion University and director of its Institute of Humanities, Jones is the author of “Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement,” which examines political entertainment shows such as “The Colbert Report.” He is also an editor of “The Essential HBO Reader and Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era.” A native of Auburn, Ala., he holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in political science from Auburn University and a doctorate in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin.

“The Peabody Awards are a shining example of what the University of Georgia has to offer in our broadcast programs, and we are pleased to add Dr. Jones to the impressive list of those who have led this historic program,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “I look forward to having his broadcast knowledge, especially in politics, popular culture and electronicmedia, on the UGA campus. His addition to our faculty will benefit not only the Peabody Awards, but our faculty and students as well.

“We wish Horace all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his loyal service to UGA.”

“Dr. Jones will lead one of the University of Georgia’s most-widely recognized programs, one which continues to evolve with the changing media landscape,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jere Morehead. “He will undoubtedly build upon the rich tradition of excellence that defines the Peabody Awards.”

Jones is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters that investigate the interactions between popular culture and politics. His most recent work includes book chapters examining network talk shows in the digital era, the role of pop culture in the 2012 presidential election, and the challenges to journalism presented by the Colbert-coined concept of “truthiness.” His next book will be “Television and Politics in the Digital Age: Performing American Public Life.”

“Director of the Peabody Awards is one of the most high profile positions at the University of Georgia,” said Culpepper Clark, dean of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Jeff Jones is an ideal successor to Horace Newcomb, who over the last 12 years elevated and defined its 21st-century role.

“I very much look forward to joining Horace in introducing Jeff to the Peabody Board when it assembles in Athens the week of March 18. It will be a great day for Grady and UGA.”

Jones will be only the fifth Peabody director in the history of the awards, which are the oldest in broadcasting and are considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media.

“Jeff Jones is an outstanding choice for the position of Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabodys and director of the George Foster Peabody Awards Programs,” said Newcomb. “He is a leading scholar in the fields related to media studies and has a broad knowledge of media history. He is vitally concerned with the roles played by electronic media in public life. He will do great things for the Peabody Awards, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the University of Georgia and for the media industries.”

Peabody Awards
The Peabodys now 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

UGA Grady College
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 or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.