Arts Society & Culture

Peabody Awards unveils 30 winners for best storytelling

‘They told urgent and powerful stories’ during a challenging year

The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors has unveiled all 30 programs representing the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media during 2020.

Of the 30 winners, PBS led with five, followed by Netflix with four, HBO with three, and Amazon, Apple TV+, and Showtime each with two. Additional winning platforms include ABC, The Atlantic, CBS, Disney Channel, ITV, KING 5, KNXV-TV, MTV, Nashville Public Radio, National Geographic, Shudder and The Washington Post.

“Whether documenting the horrors and struggles of COVID-19, amplifying critical discussions around police brutality, or simply entertaining us with heartfelt stories about our shared humanity, the Peabody 30 winners represent the very best in compelling storytelling,” said Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of Peabody. “Spanning mediums and genres, they told urgent and powerful stories despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic and an often relentless hostility towards the press. It is an honor to celebrate their fantastic work.”

The Peabody 30 are the best of over 1,300 entries submitted from television, podcasts/radio and the web in entertainment, news, documentary, arts, children’s/youth, public service and multimedia programming. Chosen unanimously by a board of 19 jurors, the winning programs this year covered numerous pressing issues, including COVID-19, voting rights, police violence, immigrant rights, and economic justice.

News programs earned eight wins this year. PBS NewsHour won for its coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, while Hao Wu’s brilliant documentary 76 Days won for capturing the early struggles of the battle against COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. Several news winners, including “Post Reports: The Life of George Floyd” and KING 5’s “Facing Race” covered the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the surrounding conversations regarding racial inequality.

Several winners, including Netflix’s Immigration Nation and PBS NewsHour’s “Desperate Journey,” highlighted the plight of immigrants and migrants. Entertainment winners like HBO’s “I May Destroy You” and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” were artistically evocative stories of complex individuality and human connection.

The 30 winners of the 81st annual Peabody Awards were named during a multiday virtual celebration from June 21 through June 24. Video announcements and acceptances are available at: https://peabodyawards.com/2021-acceptance-videos/. The full list of winners is below. Celebrity presenters announced each winner via a short video which included remarks from the winners. The winners were announced on Twitter (@PeabodyAwards); Instagram (@PeabodyAwards); Facebook (Peabody Awards) and online at https://peabodyawards.com/.

The organization previously announced Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY as an Institutional Award winner. This distinctive honor recognizes institutions and organizations, as well as series and programs, for their enduring body of work and their iconic impact on both the media landscape and the public imagination.

Sam Pollard was also named winner of the Peabody Career Achievement Award. Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour, won the Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity. Peabody also made a special commendation in recognition of Journalism Crews for their work in 2020 amidst unprecedented challenges. In addition to working through the most dangerous public health crisis in a century, they braved hostile rhetorical and physical attacks during a presidential election where the press was deemed “enemies of the people.”

The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

This year’s winners are:

Institutional Winner
ARRAY

Career Achievement Award
Sam Pollard

Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity
Judy Woodruff

Entertainment
“I May Destroy You” (HBO)
“La Llorona” (Shudder)
“Small Axe” (Amazon Studios)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)
“The Good Lord Bird” (Showtime)
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
“Unorthodox” (Netflix)

Documentary
“76 Days” (MTV Documentary Films)
“Asian Americans” (PBS)
“Collective” (HBO Europe)
“Crip Camp” (Netflix)
“Immigration Nation” (Netflix)
“The Cave” (National Geographic)
“Time” (Amazon Studios)
“Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO)

Podcast/Radio
“Floodlines” (The Atlantic)
“Post Reports: The Life of George Floyd” (The Washington Post)
“The Promise: Season 2” (Nashville Public Radio)

News
“ABC News 20/20 in collaboration with The Courier Journal: Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor” (ABC)
“China Undercover” (PBS / GBH)
“Full Disclosure” (KNXV-TV)
“Muslim in Trump’s America (Exposure)” (ITV)
“PBS NewsHour: Coverage of the COVID-19 Coverage Pandemic” (PBS)
“PBS NewsHour: Desperate Journey” (PBS)
“VICE on Showtime: Losing Ground” (Showtime)
“Whose Vote Counts” (PBS / GBH)

Children’s & Youth
“Stillwater” (Apple TV+)
“The Owl House” (Disney Channel)
“Cops and Robbers” (Netflix)
“Facing Race” (KING-TV)