Athens, Ga. – The George Foster Peabody Awards’ 69th annual search for excellence in electronic media has begun. More than 100,000 call for entries alerts will be mailed worldwide, supplemented by ads in media-industry publications and Twitter messages. Original broadcast, cablecast and webcast programs presented in 2009 are eligible. The entry deadline is January 15. Entrants may apply online at www.peabody.uga.edu.
Meanwhile, University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams has approved four new members of the Peabody Awards Board. Joining other experts who select electronic media’s most coveted prize are Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Alyce Myatt, Allen Sabinson and Fred Young.
“We have secured the services of a truly outstanding group of professionals who will contribute enormous amounts of personal time to the selection of Peabody Award recipients,” said Peabody Awards Director Horace Newcomb. “The distinction of the Peabody, the world’s oldest award for electronic media, depends on our selection process. Peabody Awards are determined through a careful, vigorous and respectful exchange of strongly held perspectives in extensive face-to-face deliberations.Our board of 16 changes over time, but the commitment to excellence remains the touchstone for our work.”
In late March, Hunter-Gault, Myatt, Sabinsonand Young will join Newcomb, 2009-10 board chair Susan Douglas and 10 other veteran board members in Athens to choose the recipients of the 69th annual Peabody Awards from a field of more than 1,000 entries from broadcast and cable television, radio and the World Wide Web. The 2009 recipients are scheduled to be announced March 31.
Hunter-Gault, the first African-American to enter the University of Georgia and a graduate of what was then the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism, is an award-winning reporter now based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has been CNN’s South Africa bureau chief, NPR’s African correspondent, chief national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and a reporter for The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is the recipient of more than two dozen honorary degrees and is the author of In My Place (1992), a memoir of her UGA experiences.
Myatt is executive director of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media, in Baltimore, which provides information to the philanthropic community to advance the field of media arts and public-interest media funding. She is a former vice president of programming for the Public Broadcasting Service, a former PBS director of children’s programming and a senior producer at the Children’s Television Workshop, and an associate producer of ABC’s 20/20.
Sabinson is the dean of Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design in Philadelphia. In a prior career that spanned three decades, he was president of production at Miramax Films and held senior positions at ABC, A&E, TNT, NBC and Showtime. The many productions that he commissioned include two Peabody winners, The Crossing and Small Sacrifices.
Young recently retired as senior vice president for news at Hearst-Argyle Television. In 2009, he received the prestigious 2009 Paul White Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association. Young spent 25 years in various capacities, including news director and general manager, at Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV. He serves as a judge for the Hearst Journalism Awards for college journalism students and is a member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
The Peabody Awards, established in 1940 and administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are the oldest honor in electronic media. International in scope, the awards recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by stations, networks, producing organizations and individuals. Excellence on its own terms is the sole criteria. There are no set categories and the number of awards varies from year to year.
At the 2009 Peabody Awards ceremony, emceed by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, 36 medallions were presented. The honorees ranged from HBO’s historical drama John Adams to the Internet phenomenon YouTube.com, from Crossfire: Water, Power and Politics, a documentary produced by KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, to Jungle Fish, a film for young people from the Korean Broadcasting System.
For more information, see www.peabody.uga.edu, follow Peabody on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Peabody_Awards, or become a fan of Peabody Awards on Facebook.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to WNEG-TV, 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.