The Peabody Awards and Facebook have created a new prize honoring excellence and innovation in digital storytelling.
The Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award initiative embodies shared core interests of the Peabody Awards and Facebook in recognizing stories that matter, educate and inspire social change.
The name’s inclusion of “Futures” refers to the judges who choose the award—student Peabody Fellows at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA—and the role young people play in shaping the two groups’ shared future as well as the honorees who are using digital technologies to blaze a trail for the future of innovative storytelling.
The Futures of Media Award honored the year’s top five stories in digital media.
The winners for 2015 are Ebola Outbreak (Frontline), Halal in the Family (Sweet180 Productions), Inheritance (Frontline), Life is Strange (Don’t-Nod Entertainment) and One Year in Ferguson (St. Louis Public Radio).
This year’s award recipients represent a variety of approaches to digital storytelling, including a parody sitcom Web series challenging anti-Muslim bias, the immersive experience provided by virtual reality technology for understanding the Ebola crisis, an interactive Web documentary centered on memory, grieving and loss, a curated radio/audio-photography retelling of the complex story of Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri, and a nonlinear video game that combines and subverts classic genres while challenging how video game narratives are told.
The Peabody Awards, the oldest and most prestigious award for electronic media, have recognized various forms of digital content since 2003. The Futures of Media Award, however, is a separate and distinct award from the main Peabody Awards.
Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards, noted the importance of the partnership. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have Facebook, one of the pre-eminent technology and media companies in the world, as our partner for these awards,” Jones said. “These award winners represent the cutting edge of how stories can be told in digital spaces. Facebook is at the forefront of shaping how we learn about, share, discuss and experience stories such as these.”
The five Futures of Media winners were flown to New York City for a presentation luncheon at the Paley Center for Media on May 20, and then recognized at the Peabody Awards ceremony on May 21.