ATHENS, GA. -- 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 Furioso,” 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 face.
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 Elementary School.”
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 since 1964.
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 careers.
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 is.
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 now.
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 HD)
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 malnourished.
“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 interracial marriage.
“Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present” (HBO)
Show of Force, Mudpuppy Films and HBO Documentary Films
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, U.K.)
ITN Productions for Channel 4 Television, U.K
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 own family.
“Putin, Russia and The West” (BBC2 UK)
Brook Lapping Productions, National Geographic Channel U.S.
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 Service
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 York.
“Investigating the IRS” (WTHR-TV)
WTHR’s station’s stunning investigation exposed not only how illegal 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 turned 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 exhaustive reporting.
“Breaking News: Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School” (WVIT-TV)
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 Bros Television
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 Family
What could be a reality-show premise–two families discovering their teenage daughters, 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 a crusade to get American black men the same EPA protections afforded snail darters.
“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, period.
“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 single, 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 Radio)
WBEZ’s “This American Life,” Pro Publica, Fundacion MEPI
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 International)
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 and 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 provides 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 Creek (www.nytimes.com)
The New York Times
A spectacular example of the potential of digital-age storytelling, 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 Broadcasting Corporation)
Celebrating the joy of design, this minimalist, all but wordless series aims to help children perceive objects and ideas from different perspectives.
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 engaging, 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 that 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 more donors.