Among the many things we claim about media, it is, ultimately, a place for storytelling. Through broadcasting and digital media, we invigorate each other through the power of stories. The Peabody Awards exist to recognize when storytelling is done well; when stories matter.
These are stories that engage viewers as citizens as well as consumers. By recognizing specific programming, the Peabody Awards spotlight programs that demonstrate how media can defend the public interest, encourage empathy with others, and teach us to expand our understanding of the world around us. Such media achieves the highest standards and exists across genre and media platforms, across regions and borders. We are distinct from other industry awards, recognizing small, local programming alongside programs with larger production budgets. We award the best of the best.
When the first Peabody Award was given out in 1941, broadcasting meant radio. Before the decade was over, the scope of the award grew to include television, and by the late 20th century, that was redefined through cable. Early into the 21st century, we began to celebrate exemplary digital content, which continues to disrupt and reimagine our experience of stories.
There are now over 500 scripted television shows, new platforms and exhibition spaces, a flood of podcasts, and a wealth of quality digital storytelling. Throughout the over 75-year history of this most prestigious prize, our goal has remained the same: to recognize stories that matter.- Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones
About the Director
Jeffrey P. Jones is the Lambdin Kay Chair and Executive Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia. Jones became only the fifth director of the Peabody Awards in 2013. Prior to that, he was Director of the Institute of Humanities at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Auburn University.
Under Jones’s leadership, television specials celebrating Peabody-winning stories have been broadcast nationally for six of the past seven years, most recently on PBS. He also established the first-ever Boards of Directors (for both the East Coast and West Coasts), comprised of top-level media entertainment industry executives, as well as journalists, documentarians, radio/podcasters, public media and foundation executives, scholars and media impact partners. He also founded the Peabody Futures of Media Award recognizing digital storytelling excellence. In fall 2016, Jones oversaw the relaunch and rebranding of the Peabody Media Center, the scholarly research center and digital media production arm of the Peabody organization.
Professor Jones is the author and editor of six books, including Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Civic Engagement, Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era, and The Essential HBO Reader. Most recently, co-edited with Ethan Thompson and Lucas Hatlan, is Television History, the Peabody Archives, and Cultural Memory through the University of Georgia Press. His research and teaching focuses on popular politics, or the ways in which politics are engaged through popular culture. He is a member of the Entertainment and Media Studies Department in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. He hails from Auburn, Alabama.
As radio rose in popularity in the late 1930s, The National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to establish a prestigious award similar to the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in broadcasting. Lambdin Kay, manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta, asked John Drewry, dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism, to sponsor the award, upon the recommendation of Lessie Smithgall, a graduate who worked at the station.
The committee named the award posthumously for George Foster Peabody, a Georgia native and successful investment banker whose philanthropic interests included the university. The first awards were issued in 1941 for excellence in radio programming released during the previous year.
Since then, the Peabody Awards have steadily grown to include a wide range of broadcasting—from television to cable to streaming network programs. In 2003, the first website was added to the list of winners, and 2012 saw the first Peabody Award given to a blog. As the platforms for storytelling multiply, the Peabody Awards will continue to evolve, highlighting Stories That Matter across media.
Judging for the Peabody Awards is a rigorous, deliberative process based on the belief that face-to-face discussions among board members is the best possible way to adjudicate more than 1,200 entries that Peabody receives each year. The Peabody Awards judging process ensures that each and every entry receives full attention in its pursuit of excellence.
The Peabody Board of Jurors is made up of media industry professionals and scholars, critics and journalists, each appointed by the executive director for a renewable three-year term of service. This mix of top-level thought leaders from varied backgrounds, all versed in media excellence, ensures that the list of winning programs will reflect the interests of a broad cross-section of audiences, rather than just media insiders. The board meets at least three times a year to view and discuss submissions, with the final session taking place at the University of Georgia, a testament to the integrity of the award and its protection from industry lobbying.
Since 2016, Peabody Awards include 60 nominees, of which 30 are recognized as winners. To receive a nomination and to win a Peabody, a program must be unanimously approved by jurors.
Former SVP and Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo! and former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc.
Martha Nelson is a fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. Prior to this, she was a senior vice president and global editor-in-chief at Yahoo. Before that, she capped a 20-year career at Time Inc. as its editor-in-chief, the first woman in the company's 90-year history to hold the title. She is the founding editor of InStyle magazine, where she launched 17 international editions, InStyle TV specials and InStyle.com. She went on to be the editor of People magazine, then editor of Time Inc.'s Style and Entertainment Group and then editorial director of Time Inc. Nelson's career also includes stints as managing editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society, staff editor at Ms. Magazine, and editor-in-chief of Savvy magazine and Women's Sports & Fitness. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Glass House and as a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and of the Actors Fund. Nelson received her bachelor's degree from Barnard College and resides in New York City.
Lorraine Ali is a television critic with The Los Angeles Times where she covers media, culture and American Muslim issues. Ali is an award-winning journalist who before joining the Times in 2011 was a culture writer and music critic with Newsweek and a senior critic with Rolling Stone. Ali was one of a few prominent female pop music critics in American journalism who rose to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, SPIN, GQ and The Hollywood Reporter, and her “West Bank Hard Core” feature was published in Da Capo’s “Best Music Writing” anthology. She’s appeared as an expert voice on radio and television programs including NPR, Oprah, Charlie Rose, CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. Her writing awards include Best Online Feature from the New York Association of Black Journalists, an Excellence in Journalism Award from the American Arab Journalists Association, and Music Journalist of the Year from the Music Journalism Awards.
Contributing Editor, Film Quarterly; Film & TV Critic, Culture Writer
Manuel Betancourt is a Colombian-born film and television writer. He is a contributing editor at Film Quarterly, where he publishes his column, “Cineando,” all about Latin American cinema, and a regular contributor to Electric Literature, where he focuses on book-to-film adaptations. His work has been featured in The New York Times, BuzzFeed Reader, Vulture, The Los Angeles Times, Film Comment, Esquire, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books and Vice, among others. Betancourt is the former Film & TV editor at Remezcla. He is the author of “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” as well as one of the contributing writers of Chad Sell’s critically acclaimed graphic novel “The Cardboard Kingdom” and its sequel. Betancourt is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; GALECA, The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics; as well as a founding member of LEJA, Latino Entertainment Journalists Association. In 2019 he was selected to be the Writer in Residence at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary and Story Edit Lab. Betancourt holds a doctorate degree in English Literatures from Rutgers University.
Marcy Carsey teamed with Tom Werner to form Carsey-Werner Company, which produced hit shows including "The Cosby Show," "Roseanne," "Third Rock from the Sun," "That 70's Show," and "Grace Under Fire." In 1996 Carsey and Werner were inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Broadcasting and Cable Magazine Hall of Fame. In 1999 they were given the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, placing them in the Museum of the American Dream as two of the 20th century's most extraordinary achievers. Carsey also received the Lucy Award from Women in Film. She began her show business career as an NBC tour guide, and became a production assistant on "The Tonight Show." She later served as senior vice president of Prime-Time Series for ABC-TV.
Henry Goldblatt is the former Editor in Chief of Entertainment Weekly where he created some of EW’s most beloved multi-platform franchises including “Hollywood’s Greatest Untold Stories”, “EW Cast Reunions” and the award-winning annual LGBTQ issue. In his previous roles at Entertainment Weekly, he invented and wrote “The Bullseye”—a humorous compilation of the week’s hits and misses—which became the brand’s most popular franchise. In addition, he launched and ran EW Radio on SiriusXM, a 24/7 pop culture news station. Prior to EW, Goldblatt spent seven years at Fortune magazine as a senior editor, a writer covering the media and telecommunications beats, and as a reporter for the brand’s signature Fortune 500 list. Goldblatt is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
Herman Gray is a former radio producer and jazz announcer whose interest in media, culture, and politics is wide ranging. Gray is professor of sociology at University of California-Santa Cruz, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media and television studies, cultural theory and politics and black cultural studies. Gray's research is on the role of television, media and culture in organizing, sustaining and challenging racial projects. He has published widely in scholarly journals in the areas of black cultural politics, media and television studies. His books on jazz, television, and black cultural politics include "Producing Jazz," "Watching Race," "Cultural Moves" and "The Sage Handbook of Television Studios," which he co-edited.
Karen Hall is a veteran television writer, producer, and creative consultant. She has worked on numerous series including Peabody Award-winners “M*A*S*H,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Roseanne” and “The Good Wife.” Additional credits include “Moonlighting,” “Grace Under Fire” and “Judging Amy.” She also wrote individual episodes for “Northern Exposure,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Cupid” and HBO’s “Maximum Security.” Hall’s TV movies and miniseries writing includes “Toughlove,” “The Betty Ford Story,” “The Women of Brewster Place” and “Darkness Before Dawn.” She has received seven Emmy Award nominations, as well as the Humanitas Prize, the Women in Film Luminas Award, and the Writers Guild of America Award. Her novel, “Dark Debts,” recently republished, was a Book of the Month Club main selection when first published in 1996.
Director of Journalism and Media; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Kathy Im is a director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she oversees the nonprofit's investments in its enduring commitment to journalism and media. The program, which aims to strengthen U.S. democracy by building a vibrant and independent media sector, works in three areas: professional nonprofit reporting, nonfiction multimedia storytelling, and participatory civic media. During Im's tenure, MacArthur has contributed to numerous impactful and award-winning investigations and documentaries, and important innovations in the production and distribution of public service journalism. Im recently co-authored an essay, "Unrestricted Funding Vital for Independent Journalism," for the American Press Institute. She is also a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, a civic program for Chicago leaders, and a board member of Media Impact Funders, a national association for journalism and media funders.
Michael Isip is President & CEO of KQED, the San Francisco Bay Area’s PBS and NPR media resource. Isip has a quarter century of media experience and has played a critical role in KQED’s growth and transformation into a multimedia organization. He joined KQED in 2001 as a Television Executive Producer and has served in a number of senior roles, including Senior VP & Chief Content Officer and Executive VP & Chief Operating Officer. Prior to KQED, Isip led production at KVIE Public Television, Sacramento. He started his career at WLS-TV, Chicago. Isip is a senior fellow for the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley and serves on the boards of Public Radio Exchange, American Documentary Inc., Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Isip has a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from DePaul College of Law.
Executive Director, International Documentary Association
Simon Kilmurry became executive director of the International Documentary Association in 2015 after an illustrious tenure as executive producer of POV, the long-running, much acclaimed PBS showcase for documentaries, and executive director of American Documentary, POV's non-profit parent organization. Under his leadership, American Documentary was the recipient in 2013 of a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Kilmurry was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Columbia University Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. POV documentaries he has executive-produced have won numerous honors, including six Peabodys, a Primetime Emmy, 17 News & Documentary Emmys, three DuPont Columbia Awards, and two Overseas Press Club Awards.
Wonya Lucas is president and chief executive officer of Crown Media Family Networks. Lucas oversees the company’s portfolio of entertainment brands, including linear networks Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama; subscription video on demand service Hallmark Movies Now; and publishing division Hallmark Publishing. Prior to joining Crown Media in August of 2020, Lucas was president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she oversaw Atlanta’s NPR (WABE) and PBS (ATL PBA) stations. Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of TV One, where she became the second African American woman to hold the president and chief executive officer role at a cable television network. Prior to joining TV One, Lucas held several positions at Discovery Communications, including executive vice president and chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and global chief marketing officer, which entailed oversight of marketing in 210 countries and over 130 networks. Before joining Discovery Communications in 2008, Lucas served as general manager and executive vice president of The Weather Channel Networks, where she was responsible for corporate strategy and development and strategic marketing for The Weather Channel, Weather Channel radio and weather.com. She joined The Weather Channel Networks from Turner Broadcasting System, where she acted in a variety of roles, including senior vice president of strategic marketing for CNN (cnn.com, CNN radio, CNN Networks Worldwide and HLN); vice president of business operations and network development for TNT and TBS; and vice president of entertainment marketing for TNT Entertainment properties. Earlier in her career, Lucas spent several years in various brand management roles for The Coca-Cola Company and Clorox. She received an MBA in Finance and Marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and BS Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mark McKinnon is a political adviser, reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. He is the creator, executive producer, and co-host of Showtime's real-time political documentary series "The Circus," the highest rated non-scripted program in the history of the network. He was the chief media advisor to five successful presidential primary and general election campaigns, and is cofounder of No Labels, an organization dedicated to bipartisanship, civil dialogue, and political problem solving. For 20 years, he worked at Public Strategies, Inc., where he was an owner and vice chair. In 2010, Public Strategies merged with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where he served as global vice chair and currently serves as an adviser to the firm.
Mike Monello is a true pioneer when it comes to immersive storytelling and innovative marketing. In the late 1990s, Monello and his partners at Haxan Films created The Blair Witch Project, a story told across the burgeoning internet, a sci-fi channel pseudo-documentary, books, comics, games, and a feature film, which became a pop-culture touchstone and inspired legions of "found-footage" movies in its wake. It forever changed how fans engage with story and how marketers approach the internet. Inspired by the possibilities for engaging connected fan cultures and communities online, Monello co-founded Campfire in 2006. There, he leads an agency that has developed and created groundbreaking participatory stories and experiences for HBO, Amazon, Netflix, Cinemax, Discovery, National Geographic, Harley-Davidson, Infiniti, and more. Campfire won Small Agency Campaign of the Year via AdAge in 2013 and Small Agency of the Year via Online Marketing Media and Advertising Awards in 2012, and has been awarded top honors at the Cannes Lions Festival, Clios, One Show, MIXX, and the Emmys. Monello regularly speaks at high-profile events such as Advertising Week, SXSW, Digital Hollywood, and more.
Monica Pearson, the first woman and first minority to anchor a 6 p.m. newscast in Atlanta, retired in 2012 after 37 years with WSB-TV. She now hosts a weekly radio show on KISS 104.1 FM, hosts a weekly show "A Seat at the Table" on Georgia Public Broadcasting, and continues her "Closeups" interviews on wsbtv.com/monica. She has received numerous accolades and honors for her TV work, including 33 local and regional Emmys. In March 2012, the bi-partisan Georgia delegation to the U.S. Congress honored her on the floor of the U.S. House as "a true pioneer and a trailblazer in television news." She has taught part-time at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. In addition to degrees from the University of Louisville and the University of Georgia, she holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), Oglethorpe University, American Bible University, and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College.
Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia
Aswin Punathambekar is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. With interests ranging across radio, film, television, and digital media, his research and teaching focus on the impact that globalization and technological change have on the workings of media industries, formations of audiences and publics, and cultural identity and politics. Based on research in India, the U.K., and the U.S. he has written and co-edited several books including “From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry,” “Media Industry Studies,” and “Television at Large in South Asia.” He serves as an editor of an international peer-reviewed journal Media, Culture and Society, and co-edits the Critical Cultural Communication book series for NYU Press. Punathambekar holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia.
Partner, DVL Seigenthaler and former anchor, NBC News
John Seigenthaler is an award-winning communications professional and recognized as one of the most skilled "storytellers" in the broadcast industry. He helps clients tell their stories creating visual and thought-provoking narratives that positively impact target audiences. Seigenthaler, a former NBC News anchor, develops strategic communications plans for corporations and high-profile C-level executives. His expertise spans crisis communications, social media strategy, media interview direction/training and video production. Seigenthaler is a former partner at Seigenthaler Public Relations, now DVL Seigenthaler, a Finn Partners Company. As an award-winning journalist, Seigenthaler anchored "NBC Nightly News Weekend" edition for almost a decade.
Former co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group
Anne Sweeney is a member of the board of directors at Netflix, the board of trustees at the Mayo Clinic, and a Dean’s Distinguished Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Prior to embarking on a new chapter in the entertainment industry in 2015, she was co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, which includes The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, as well as radio and publishing businesses. Sweeney joined The Walt Disney Company in February 1996 as president of Disney Channel and executive vice president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks. Previously she was chairman and CEO of FX Networks, Inc. During her tenure there, she presided over the launch of two basic cable networks, entertainment-focused FX and FXM: Movies from Fox, Hollywood’s first studio-based movie network. Before joining Fox, Sweeney spent 12 years at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite in various executive positions. She has repeatedly been named to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Most Powerful Woman in Entertainment” list, one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune and one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes.
Bonnie Turner is a veteran film and television writer and producer with more than forty years of experience. She began in Atlanta producing for Ted Turner and was present at the launch of CNN. In the mid-eighties she wrote and produced for “Saturday Night Live.” During her tenure, her work introduced many comical words and phrases into the pop zeitgeist. Turner wrote five successful films for Paramount Pictures including the feature-length version of “Wayne’s World,” which set a comedy box office record. She then wrote and produced for the Carsey-Werner company where she created “3rd Rock From The Sun” and “That ‘70s Show.”