Athens, Ga. – The Peabody Awards today announced the first group of winners in The Peabody 30, honoring programming in news, radio/podcast, web and public service. The honorees range from a local TV station’s reporting on smartphones’ fatal 911 blindspots to a classical music podcast and a website devoted to educating social media users about privacy concerns. The Peabody Awards are based at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
This year marks the inaugural winners of The Peabody 30. The remaining slots will be unveiled over the next week.
The news, radio/podcast, web and public service winners in this year’s Peabody 30 are as follows (network/platform in parentheses):
Burning Questions: WTAE Investigates Fire Response Times (WTAE-TV)
WTAE reporter Paul Van Osdol provided a four-alarm public service when he doggedly investigated the wildly varying response times of Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire departments and found a chronically inefficient system that hadn’t changed substantially since the days of horse-drawn trucks and bucket brigades. His sleuthing prompted legislative hearings and the passage of bills aimed at quickening response and saving lives, as well as public questioning of the dependence on volunteers instead of professional municipal services.
Desperate Journey (PBS/WETA-TV)
Reporting on the men, women and children fleeing Syria and other Middle Eastern war zones,
“NewsHour’s” Desperate Journey series captured the life and breadth of the worst displaced person crisis since World War II: the initial, inspirational hospitality of European hosts, the eventual resistance as the waves of humanity became overwhelming, and the hopes and horrors experienced by the refugees themselves.
Do Not Track (donottrack-doc.com)
Upian, National Film Board of Canada, Arte, Bayerischer Rundfunk, CBC/Radio-Canada
Visiting Do Not Track may leave you feeling like a moth in a spider web. Focused on Internet economics and privacy issues, the website’s personalized episodes provide a wealth of provocative information about the science of cookies, tracking and who is profiting from your social media participation. The user is shocked at the breadth of information he or she regularly gives up in the course of routine and mundane activities across digital and mobile platforms.
European Migrant Crisis/A New Life in Europe/The Year of Migration (BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio)
The BBC reminded us why it’s the gold standard of electronic-media news with its wide-ranging, richly detailed, deeply humane television and radio reporting about the reality and ramifications of the surge of millions of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe.
Meet the Composer (WQXR.org)
WQXR’s Q2 Music
Fascinating, intelligent, enlightening podcasts devoted to the work of current classical composers. The show integrates music with thoughtful conversation about it without distracting from either.
911: Lost On The Line (WXIA-TV)
WXIA-TV, NBC, Atlanta
Inspired by a single 911 call for help that failed fatally, WXIA reporter Brendan Keefe launched an ambitious, enterprising multimedia probe that revealed government oversights and technical shortcomings in supposedly smart iPhones and in telecommunications infrastructure that were causing needless deaths across the country.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields (HBO)
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”
Reporting from Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya, “Real Sports” documented the billion-dollar, criminal enterprise that is the ivory trade, the sickening slaughter of elephants that fuels it, the devotion and bravery of rangers trying to protect them, and the delusion of trophy hunters who insist the money they bring to Africa somehow slows the decimation.
Secret Mustard Gas Experiments (NPR)
Horrifying and infuriating although, alas, not surprising, this unforgettable report documented the U.S. Army’s testing of an abominable chemical weapon on some 60,000 of our own World War II soldiers, most of whom were black.
The Case for School Desegregation Today (This American Life)
“This American Life”
In a collection of powerful, personal stories about the nexus of education and race, “This American Life” weighs the statistical benefits of desegregation against the pressure, even humiliation, that many minority students experience. The two-part broadcast is a bold, honest examination of what can happen when social engineering meets reality.
The LaQuan McDonald Investigation (WMAQ-TV)
WMAQ-TV, NBC, Chicago
Launching its probe six months before a Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald, WMAQ’s relentless, unrivaled reporting brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies, and contributed to a police department shake-up.
Media looking to cover the red carpet and awards ceremony on Saturday, May 21 at Cipriani Wall Street may submit their application for credentials at bit.ly/PeabodyPressCredentials.
Peabody is an organization dedicated to invigorating people through the power of stories. Founded in 1940, Peabody honors and extends conversation around stories that matter in radio, television, and digital media through symposiums, screenings, podcasts and an annual awards ceremony considered to be among the most prestigious in the entertainment industry. Peabody gives awards for news, entertainment, documentaries, children’s programming, education, interactive programming, and public service, in turn, encouraging the media industries to reach for and achieve the highest standards. Peabody is administered through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at The University of Georgia. For more information, visit peabodyawards.com or follow @PeabodyAwards on Twitter.
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 www.grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.
Note to editors: A winners highlight video is available at