Campus News

Peabody Awards and Facebook launch new Futures of Media Award

Athens, Ga. – The Peabody Awards and Facebook announced today the creation of a new prize honoring excellence and innovation in digital storytelling. Named the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award, this 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 the University of Georgia, and the role young people play in shaping our 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 will honor the year’s top five stories in digital media.

The winners for 2015 are as follows:

— Ebola Outbreak (FRONTLINE)
— Halal in the Family (Sweet180 Productions)
— Inheritance (FRONTLINE)
— Life is Strange (Don’t-Nod Entertainment)
— 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 non-linear 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 will be flown to New York City for a presentation luncheon at the Paley Center for Media on Friday, May 20, and then recognized at the Peabody Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 21. Both events will be streamed on the Peabody’s Facebook page via Facebook Live.

The Futures of Media Award is just one aspect of a three-year Peabody project in partnership with Facebook. In addition to celebrating the Student Honor Board’s selections, Facebook will also participate in this year’s Peabody Awards ceremony. Peabody will be using Facebook Live during the ceremony to provide red carpet and behind the scenes access to their followers in real-time. The evening’s coverage will be hosted by Ana Kasparian from the Young Turks.

“The pace of innovation in digital storytelling is inspiring and these winners demonstrate some of the possibilities to leverage new technologies,” said Andy Mitchell, director of global news and media partnerships for Facebook. “To partner with Peabody on this award and have all the winners shown on FB Live, one of the many new digital products inspiring this innovation, is an honor.”