Thirty-nine recipients of the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards
were announced today by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism
and Mass Communication. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board as the best in
electronic media for the year 2012, were named in a ceremony in the Peabody Gallery
on the UGA Campus.
The latest Peabody recipients reflect diversity in
content, genre and sources of origination. They include “Girls,” Lena Dunham’s
HBO comedy-drama about the young and the feckless in New York; “Putin, Russia
and the West,” a compelling portrait of a modern-day czar; “Rapido y
,” Univision’s Mexican perspective on the
infamous Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
gun-tracking debacle; “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” a
sterling magazine series that springboards from athletics; “Robin’s
Journey,” a public-service campaign created around “Good Morning
America” co-anchor Robin Roberts’ treatment for a rare
blood disease; and “Design Ah!,” an imaginative Japanese series aimed at
developing children’s creative vision.
“Reviewing submissions for Peabody consideration is a truly exciting
process,” said Horace Newcomb,
director of the Peabody Awards. “Producers and organizations send us
their best work from the previous year. It is an astonishing array of
outstanding media accomplishment. From this array, we must select the
‘best of the best.’ It’s not always easy, but it always demonstrates the
meaning of true excellence in electronic media.”
International recipients also included “Salat (Bone Dry),” a report
by the Philippine magazine series “Reel Time” about malnourished
children; “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes
Unpunished,” a sobering dispatch from a little-covered civil war zone;
and a pair of hard-hitting documentaries from ITV’s “Exposure” series:
“The Other Side of Jimmy Savile” dealt with posthumous
revelations that a beloved, knighted TV star was a sexual predator; and
“Banaz: An Honour Killing” detailed the case of an independent-minded
Kurdish-British woman murdered by her own family. A Canadian winner, the
documentary “Under Fire: Journalists in Combat,” explored the mindset
and motivation of war correspondents and the dangers they increasingly
Local television news reports honored included “Ford Escape: Exposing
a Deadly Defect,” an investigative series by KNXV-TV in Phoenix
that led to a recall of more than 700,000 SUVs; “Investigating the
IRS,” an expose of billions of dollars in fraudulent tax-claim payouts;
and “Investigating the Fire,” Denver station WMGH-TV’s probe of a controlled burn
by Colorado state foresters that turned deadly. WVIT-TV, a West Hartford, Conn.,
station that also serves nearby Newtown, was awarded a Peabody for its quick
response and comprehensive coverage of “Breaking News: Tragedy at Sandy Hook
Other entertainment winners included the FX series “Louie,” comedian
Louis C.K.’s serrated, boundary-testing take on being a single, showbiz
dad; “Southland,” TNT’s richly nuanced drama about Los Angeles
police; “Inside the National Recording Registry,” a delightful series
of radio documentaries about recorded music chosen for inclusion in that
archive; and “Switched at Birth,” an ABC Family drama whose
multicultural elements include major characters who are deaf.
“Our list of Peabody recipients for 2012 demonstrates
the range of superb work,” Newcomb said. “From local to national to
international, from radio to television, broadcast to cable to web, the Peabody
sets the goals for every type of media production. We’ll continue to do
this, no matter how the world of electronic media develops.”
Peabodys also went to “Game Change,” an HBO film about how Sarah Palin
was catapulted into the national political spotlight, and “D.L. Hughley:
The Endangered List,” a mock documentary on Comedy Central in which the
comedian campaigned to get black men the “same EPA protections” as the
Kaman cave cricket and the Texas kangaroo rat.
“Doctor Who,” the ever-evolving, ever-clever BBC science fiction
series now entering its second half century, was awarded an
Institutional Peabody, as was Michael Apted’s remarkable “Up” series of
documentaries that have assayed the lives of 14 Britons at seven-year intervals
A rare Individual Peabody was awarded to Lorne Michaels,
now in his 37th year as executive producer of “Saturday Night Live” and
still discovering new comic talents, incubating ideas and nurturing
The documentary honorees underscored the vital, variegated state of
the non-fiction form. They included the Smithsonian Channel’s “MLK: The
Assassination Tapes,” in which rare archival footage was fused into a
gripping reconstruction of the events surrounding the Civil Rights
leader’s 1968 murder; “Sheikh Jarrah, My Neighborhood,” an encouraging
Al Jazeera report about a Palestinian-Israeli interaction in an East Jerusalem
neighborhood; and “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” an HBO film about
the performance-art pioneer that’s as challenging and outrageous as she
Other documentaries winning Peabodys included “The Loving Story,” a
poignant film shown on HBO about a couple infamously arrested in 1958
for daring to marry across racial lines; “Summer Pasture,” an
“Independent Lens” film that chronicled a nomadic Tibetan family’s
natural and political hardships; and “Why Poverty?,” a collection of
eight distinctively different films from Steps International that
explored aspects of that human condition historically and here and
Other radio winners included “Teen Contender,” a “Radio Diaries”
entry that shadowed a teenaged boxer on her quest to fight on the U.S.
Olympic team; “The Leonard Lopate Show,” WNYC Radio’s noble, nimble
daily consideration of New York City’s art, political and
cultural life; and “What Happened at Dos Erres,” a “This American Life”
spellbinder about a Guatemalan immigrant who learns that the man he
believed to be his father actually led the massacre of his village.
News winners also included two “60 Minutes” segments that demonstrated
the magazine show’s range. “Deception at Duke” dug deep into allegations of
fraud in a prestigious Duke University doctor’s cancer-cure research findings. “Joy
in the Congo” celebrated the emergence of a home-grown symphony orchestra in
that war-ravaged African republic.
ABC News’ presciently planned, comprehensive coverage of “Superstorm
Sandy” was honored with a Peabody,
as was CNN’s thorough, voluminous and well-contextualized “Coverage
Inside Syria and Homs 2012.” NPR’s detailed, daring coverage of Syria’s descent
into chaos by Deborah Amos and Kelly McEvers was also a winner.
The two websites receiving Peabody Awards demonstrate the breadth of
styles and content that this medium can accommodate. SCOTUSblog
is a treasure trove mostly of text–archival material, updates,
analysis–about the daily and historic workings of the Supreme Court,
while “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” on The
New York Times’ website, explored the cause and toll of an avalanche in
Washington state primarily through spectacular graphics and aerial video.
These 39 Peabodys will be formally presented at a luncheon ceremony on
May 20 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Scott Pelley, anchor of “The CBS
Evening News,” will be this year’s emcee.
A complete list of recipients of the 72nd Annual
Peabody Awards is below.
“Under Fire: Journalists in Combat” (Documentary Channel
JUF Pictures Inc., Documentary Channel, Canada
A fascinating exploration of the mentality of war-zone reporters
and the toll their dangerous, chosen work can have on them.
“Why Poverty?” (PBS)
Eight films, each distinctive in tone and style, give us
parallax views of poverty today and through the ages.
“MLK: The Assassination Tapes” (Smithsonian Channel)
1895 Films for Smithsonian Channel
Painstakingly configured from rare footage collected at the
University of Memphis in 1968, the documentary relives the events leading up to
the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and its aftermath.
“Reel Time: Salat” (Bone Dry) (GMA News TV)
GMA Network Inc. (GMA News TV)
This unflinching portrait of a widow with six mouths to feed
personifies a brutal statistic: two out of 10 Filipino children are
“Sheikh Jarrah, My Neighborhood” (Al Jazeera)
Al Jazeera, Just Vision
A Palestinian teenager whose family is evicted from an East
Jerusalem neighborhood by Israeli settlers finds unexpected allies in this
honest, hopeful documentary.
“The Loving Story” (HBO)
Augusta Films and HBO Documentary Films with the
support of the National Endowment for the Humanities
A fresh, poignant reconsideration of the now almost unthinkable
arrest and prosecution of Richard and Mildred Loving in 1958 for the “crime” of
“Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present” (HBO)
Show of Force, Mudpuppy Films and HBO Documentary
Like the “godmother of performance art” herself, this film about
Abramovic and her Museum of Modern Art. The retrospective is
performative, challenging and provocative.
“Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished” (Channel 4,
ITN Productions for Channel 4 Television,
Combining amateur film and “trophy” videos with the results of a
three-year reporting effort, the filmmakers document the civilian death
toll–as high as 40,000–of Sri Lanka’s civil war.
“Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile” (ITV1)
ITV Studios and
“Exposure: Banaz: An Honour Killing” (ITV)
Hardcash Productions/Fuuse Films
A hard-hitting pair of ITV films examines two different cultural
horrors in Great Britain,
the first the predatory sexual perversity of beloved TV icon, the
second the murder of an independent-minded Kurdish-British girl by her
“Putin, Russia and The West” (BBC2 UK)
Brook Lapping Productions, National Geographic
How a former KGB spy made himself the Czar in the Grey Flannel
Suit–and what his reign has meant for the U.S. and
Europe–is detailed in
this monumental four-part documentary.
“Independent Lens: Summer Pasture” (PBS)
True-Walker Productions, Independent Television
A rare account of Tibet from the inside, this unhurried, quietly
powerful film focuses on one nomadic family and through them illuminates
an entire culture’s struggle with nature’s hardships and China’s oppression.
“Ford Escape: Exposing a Deadly Defect” (KNXV-TV, Phoenix)
KNXV-TV/ABC 15 News, E.W. Scripps Company
Investigating a teenager’s car-crash death, KNXV’s five-month
investigation revealed an acceleration problem that inspired a federal
inquiry and the recall of more than 700,000 SUVs.
“Deception at Duke” (CBS)
CBS News, “60 Minutes”
This meticulous “60 Minutes” report documented the failure and
possible fraud behind a much ballyhooed experimental cancer treatment by
a Duke University doctor.
“Superstorm Sandy” (ABC)
ABC’s exemplary coverage of the monster storm was enabled by the
20-20 foresight with which it deployed its journalistic resources,
including embedding a reporting team with a family in Breezy Point, New
“Investigating the IRS” (WTHR-TV)
WTHR’s station’s stunning investigation exposed not only how
immigrants were bilking billions in tax refunds from the Internal
Revenue Service but also how the IRS had known of the scamming and
failed to stop it.
“Joy in the Congo” (CBS)
CBS News, “60 Minutes”
This beautiful, inspirational report about Orchestre Symphonique
Kimbanguiste, a Congolese orchestra and chorale with 200 members,
sounded a note of hope for a war-ravaged nation.
“Investigating the Fire” (KMGH-TV)
After a controlled burn by the Colorado State Forest Service
deadly, KMGH reporters uncovered mistakes and miscommunication that
resulted in legislative changes that will compensate the victims and
guard against future tragedies.
“Rapido y Furioso” (Fast and Furious) (Univision)
The scope and human impact of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms and Explosives’ infamous, ill-conceived gun-tracking program
was enlarged and made clearer by the Mexican perspective of Univision’s
“Breaking News: Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School”
WVIT-TV, West Hartford, Conn.
The first TV-news outlet to report the horrendous shooting spree
at Sandy Hook, WVIT broadcast careful, comprehensive coverage that informed not
only its own audience, but viewers around the country.
“CNN’s Coverage Inside Syria and Homs 2012” (CNN)
As political unrest in Syria disintegrated in civil war, CNN’s
news teams provided unmatched eyewitness documentation, analysis and context.
John Wells Production in association with Warner
Shot on location in Los Angeles neighborhoods both posh
and blighted, the show focuses on characters whose personalities have
become more nuanced by the season. It’s a gritty, weekly ride-along, as
convincing as cop drama gets.
“Switched at Birth” (ABC Family)
Prodco Inc. in association with ABC
What could be a
reality-show premise–two families discovering their teenage
one of whom is deaf, were switched at birth–is explored with honesty,
imagination and humor in this superior family series.
“D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List” (Comedy Central)
Comedy Central, Five Timz Productions
In this provocative satirical documentary, the comedian goes on
crusade to get American black men the same EPA protections afforded
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO)
Covering 2012 stories as diverse as fan-on-fan violence, NFL
painkiller abuse and the lethal hazing of a Florida A&M drum major,
Gumbel’s show continued to be one of TV’s finest news magazines,
“Game Change” (HBO)
Playtone Productions and Everyman Pictures in
association with HBO Films
A behind-the-scenes account of what happened after John McCain
picked Alaska’s charismatic, combative governor to be his running mate; it’s a
story worthy of Euripides and Robert Ripley.
Pig Newton Inc., FX Productions
Louis C.K.’s self-reflective, shape-shifting series about a
show-biz dad is daring and endearing, scandalous and sensitive, a
milestone of comedic reach and candor.
Apatow Prod and I am Jenni Konner Productions in
association with HBO Entertainment
Creator/star Lena Dunham’s singular, decidedly
unglamorous take on sex and the single girl and the city reverberates
with anxiety, angst, insight and rueful humor.
“Syria 2012” (NPR)
Finding ways to get deep into Syria even after their official
visas were revoked, NPR’s Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos delivered detailed
reportage, often from dangerous locations.
“Teen Contender” (NPR’s “All Things Considered”)
Vivid in its personal insights and ambient sound, this engaging
radio diary documented the quest of 16-year-old Claressa Shields to box for the
U.S. team in the 2012 Olympics.
“This American Life: What Happened at Dos Erres” (WBEZ
WBEZ’s “This American Life,” Pro Publica,
Though this masterful documentary illuminates a larger event, a
Guatemalan civil-war massacre, its dramatic heart is the astounding
story of a child survivor of the 1982 atrocity who learns the man he
believed to be his father had in fact been commander of the military
unit that wiped out most of his village.
“Inside the National Recording Registry” (WNYC/Public Radio
Media Mechanics, The Library of Congress
These are marvelous micro-documentaries, each one presenting a
registry inductee–Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” score,
for instance, or Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina”–and describing how
why it was chosen.
“The Leonard Lopate Show” (WNYC FM and AM)
Lopate presides over New York’s most revered radio forum for
exploring the arts, cultural affairs and the public life of the city.
News, calendars, live updates, commentary–the website
everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. Supreme Court and its
cases but didn’t know where to look.
Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel
The New York Times
A spectacular example of the potential of digital-age
the web site combines thorough traditional reporting of a deadly
avalanche with stunning topographic video.
“Design Ah!” (NHK Educational Channel)
NHK Educational Corporation for NHK (Japanese
Celebrating the joy of design, this minimalist, all but wordless
series aims to help children perceive objects and ideas from different
A rare Individual Peabody goes Lorne Michaels because he’s the
patron saint of satirical television comedy and, as one of his old
co-conspirators would say, you’re not.
“Doctor Who” (BBC America)
The BBC Cymru Wales
Seemingly immortal, 50-years-old and still running, this
imaginative sci-fi/fantasy series is awarded an Institutional Peabody
for evolving with technology and the times like nothing else in the
known television universe.
Michael Apted’s “Up” Series (ITV 1)
Originally conceived to illustrate class immobility, the series
revisits the same group of British citizens every seven years, most
recently in “56 Up,” has long since become more personal than political.
Notable for its creator’s patience and its subjects’ humanity, the “Up”
series receives an Institutional Peabody.
“Robin’s Journey” (ABC)
By allowing her network to document and build a public service
campaign around her battle with rare disease, Robin Roberts,
“Good Morning America” co-anchor, inspired hundreds of potential bone
marrow donors to register and heightened awareness of the need for even