2008 Peabody Award Winners Announced

NEW YORK: Olympics coverage, investigative reporting and the live HD telecasts of Metropolitan Opera performances were among the 2008 Peabody Award winners announced today.

Denver’s McGraw-Hill ABC affiliate, KMGH-TV, won for “Failing the Children: Deadly Mistakes,” an investigation of the city’s department of human services prompted by the starvation death of a 7-year-old boy. Today’s Peabody was the second for KMGH, which won in 2004 for a report on the sexual abuse of female cadets at the Air Force Academy.

Hearst-Argyle’s 25 stations won for “Commitment 2008,” the station group’s fifth biennial political coverage project. This win makes the fifth Peabody for Hearst-Argyle stations in a seven-year period, the group said.

WWL-TV, Belo’s CBS station in New Orleans, continues to collect Peabodies for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. This time, the intrepid broadcast team motivated a federal investigation of the non-profit New Orleans Authoring Housing Program for misuse of funds. WWL won its sixth Peabody 2006 following its coverage of Katrina from temporary facilities after its own studios flooded.

KLAS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas owned by Landmark Communications, won for “Crossfire: Water, Power and Politics,” a documentary on a plan to “pipe massive amounts of water from rural Nevada to booming Sin City and the potential consequences for ranchers, farmers, Native Americans and the environment,” Peabody judges wrote.

Among broadcast networks, PBS took awards for “Ape Genius,” an episode of NOVA on human and primate intelligence. Political talker “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill” was recognized, along with documentaries on the corn market, depression and Japanese politics.

The NBC Olympics team was recognized for its presentation of the opening ceremonies. “An exponential magnification of what was once known in television as a ‘spectacular,’” the Peabody judges said.

ABC News won for its coverage of life at Johns Hopkins Hospital. NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” franchise won for political satire. CBS News magazine “60 Minutes” won for illustrating medical needs of under- and uninsured Americans with a report on a free weekend clinic in Tennessee. NBC Nightly News war correspondent Richard Engel’s team was lauded for coverage in Afghanistan.

ABC’s “Lost” won, eliciting this from Peabody judges: “Breezily mixing metaphysics, quantum physics, romance and cliffhanger action, the genre-bending series about a group of air-crash survivors on a mysterious island has rewritten the rules of television fiction.”

The Metropolitan Opera Association won for its “Live in HD Series,” of cinemacasts now reaching more than 900 theaters plus schools and art centers on six continents, and 19 ships at sea in international waters. Mark Schubin, prolific contributor to Television Broadcast, Videographyandother NewBay publications, is the engineer in charge in the Met.

Online, the Onion News Network took a Peabody for skewering CNN, and YouTube won for its “Speaker’s Corner,” described as “an ever-expanding archive-cum-bulletin board that both embodies and promotes democracy.”

The Peabody awards will be presented May 18 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The Peabody Awards are a franchise of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism. The full list of winners is available here. – Deborah D. McAdams