Peabody-Smithgall lecture examines media and democracy

Peabody-Smithgall lecture examines media and democracy

Athens, Ga. – The Peabody Awards will present its second annual Peabody-Smithgall Lecture on the theme of “The Media and Public Life” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, in the University of Georgia Chapel. Georgia native and UGA alumna Pat Mitchell, a former president of PBS and current president/CEO of the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles, will be the speaker. “Media as Public Square” will be her specific topic. The event is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the community.

“Pat Mitchell is an award-winning television producer and a leading thinker with regard to all aspects of media institutions,” said Horace Newcomb, director of the George Foster Peabody Awards at UGA. “Her advice and counsel are sought throughout the world. I can think of no better person to address our topic, ‘The Media and Public Life.'”

Mitchell went from network correspondent to television executive to being the first woman president/CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Mitchell’s work has won multiple national and international awards, leading to her induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women’s list. Her philanthropic activities include vice chair of the Sundance Institute, trustee of the Mayo Clinic Foundation, president of the American chapter of President Gorbachev’s global environmental organization, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Women’s Forum, Harvard University’s Women’s Leadership Board and chair of The Women’s Media Center. She is on the corporate boards of the Bank of America and SUN Microsystems.

The Peabody-Smithgall Lecture is named in honor of Lessie Bailey Smithgall and her late husband, Charles Smithgall. In the late 1930s, Lessie Smithgall introduced Lambdin Kay, General Manager of Atlanta’s WSB Radio, and John Drewry, dean of the University of Georgia’s School of Journalism. Their efforts led to the establishment of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the university. In 2003, the Smithgalls endowed the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabodys, now held by Horace Newcomb. The Peabody-Smithgall Lecture is supported with funds from the Lambdin Kay Chair.

The Peabody Awards, established in 1940 and administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are the oldest honor in television and radio. Today the Peabody recognizes distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web.

Each year, the awards competition attracts more than 1,000 entries, all of which become a permanent part of the Peabody Archive in the University of Georgia Libraries. The collection is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected moving-image archives. For more information about the Peabody Archive or the Peabody Awards, see www.peabody.uga.edu.