Among the many things we claim about media, it is, ultimately, a place for storytelling. Through electronic media, we recognize and engage each other with the stories we tell and the stories we attend to there. The Peabody Awards exist to recognize when storytelling is done well in electronic media; when stories there matter.
These are stories that engage viewers as citizens as well as consumers. By recognizing specific programming, the Peabody Awards spotlight instances of how electronic media can teach, expand our horizons, defend the public interest, or encourage empathy with others. Such excellent stories exist across genres and media types, and across regions and borders.
When the first set of Peabody Awards were given out in 1941, broadcasting meant radio. Before the decade was over, the scope of the award grew to include television storytelling. By the late 20th Century, television was redefined through cable and satellite technologies. The Peabody Awards again recognized shifts in storytelling as a result of these changes.
Early into the 21st century, we began to celebrate exemplary web content, which continues to open doors for new forms of storytelling. And now, with programming readily available for on-demand and online streaming through new platforms and exhibition spaces, what separates these spaces is less meaningful than the stories being told there. Throughout all this, the scope of the Peabody Awards continues to grow as media changes, but our goal remains the same: to recognize stories that matter. - Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones
About the Director
Jeffrey P. Jones is the Lambdin Kay Chair and 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 Dr. Jones’s leadership, the Peabody Awards program has entered into a three-year contract with cable channel Pivot to air 90-minute television specials of the Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony, created a first ever Advisory Board comprised of 25 top level media industry executives, created a Student Honor Board of Peabody Fellows, launched a new website, expanded its social media presence, created new forms of original media programming (such as documentaries and podcasts), and moved the judging of Peabody Award entries to an all-electronic intake and judging system.
Professor Jones is the author and editor of five books, including Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Civic Engagement, Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era, and The Essential HBO Reader. His research and teaching focuses on popular politics, or the ways in which politics are engaged through popular culture. His research subjects include media figures and programs such as Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Michael Moore, as well as several examinations of Fox News as a form of political entertainment television. 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.
Prof. of Comm. at the University of Pennsylvania, former President of the International Communication Assoc.
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 over one thousand entries that Peabody receives each year.
The Peabody Board is made up of media industry professionals, media scholars, critics and journalists, each appointed by the Peabody 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 face-to-face at least three times a year to view and discuss submissions, with the final Board session taking place at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. The University of Georgia has been the home of the Peabody Awards since the award was founded. Both the Peabody Director and Associate Director are media professors at the University. The fact that the Peabody Awards are housed at a prestigious academic institution helps protect the integrity of the award and insulate the process from industry lobbying.
The single criteria for receiving a Peabody Award is excellence. Toward that end, Board members ask themselves: Does this story matter? Is it a story that needs telling? Does it inform us as citizens or help us empathize with one another?
To win a Peabody, a program must receive the unanimous approval of all seventeen Peabody Board members.
There is no set number of winners, the Peabody Awards are not given in categories, and there are no degrees of winners. Once a program is submitted, it competes solely on its merits. This levels the playing field and gives small, local programming the same opportunity to be recognized as programs with much larger budgets.
The Peabody Awards adjudication process ensures that each and every entry receives the full attention of the board in its pursuit of excellence in stories that matter.
Origin of the Award
Realizing that there was no equivalent for the Pulitzer Prize in radio, the National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to establish a prestigious award for excellence in broadcasting. The manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta Lambdin Kay asked John Drewry, the dean of Grady School of Journalism, to sponsor the award. They named the award for George Foster Peabody, a highly successful investment banker and recently deceased benefactor to the University of Georgia.
Since 1940 the Peabody award has steadily grown from being the “Pulitzer Prize for Radio” to recognizing excellence in a wide range of electronic media. In 1948 the Peabody Awards began recognizing television programs, and eventually cable TV was included beginning in 1981. By 2003, the first website had been included in the list of winners and 2012 saw the first Peabody Award given to a blog. From the first radio broadcast, electronic media has been constantly evolving. As the possibilities for storytelling multiply, the Peabody Awards will continue to draw attention to stories that matter in electronic media. We look toward the new forms of storytelling that will arise as we move deeper into the digital age.
Senior Curator of Television for the British Film Institute
After working for 10 years for the BBC television archives, Steve was appointed the Senior Curator of Television for the British Film Institute in 1988. A strong advocate for preserving TV programs as part of our shared cultural heritage, Steve authored “The Television Heritage” in 1989, a publication which was instrumental in helping to bring about a statutory provision for preserving TV programs in the U.K.
As the Senior Curator of Television for BFI, he helped start a campaign called “Missing, Believed Wiped” which recovers TV and radio programs that have been believed to be lost. He also served as a member of the executive council of the International Federation of Television Archives for 20 years and spent 8 of those years as General Secretary. Bryant also started the IFTA’s Television Studies Seminar.
TV Critic for NPR, Guest Host for CNN's Reliable Sources
Eric Deggans is one of the most prominent media critics working today. As NPR’s first full-time TV critic, Eric’s stories are regularly broadcasted on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, along with an array of written contributions to NPR.org’s blogs. He came to NPR in September 2013 from the Tampa Bay Times newspaper in Florida, where he worked for nearly 20 years. In addition to his work in print and on radio, Deggans has guest hosted CNN’s Reliable Sources many times. His book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation was published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2012. He also contributed to the Poynter Institute’s The New Ethics of Journalism, published in August 2013. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times online, Salon magazine, CNN.com, the Washington Post, Village Voice, VIBE magazine, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, Rolling Stone Online and a host of other newspapers across the country.
In 2013 Deggans was awarded Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. He received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists’ A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to “seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers.” He has also received reporting and writing awards from the Society for Features Journalism, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Florida Society of News Editors.
Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy for Weber Shandwick
Eddie Garrett is Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy of Weber Shandwick, a global public relations and consumer marketing firm based in Chicago. He is considered a pioneer in digital and new media as he worked to develop some of the earliest successful websites for major brands including the digital presence for the 1995 Peabody winning documentary, “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream.” Since that time, he has served as the director of communications and new media for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and as Executive Vice President & Deputy General Manager at Edelman, where he provided senior counsel to Fortune 500 companies on building successful digital businesses and content across multiple platforms. Garrett, who holds a BS in communications and an MBA from the University of Georgia, was also a member of the CNN team that won a 2005 Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Jonathan Gray is a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A prolific writer, he is the author and editor of nine books. His monographs include "Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts" (NYU Press), "Television Entertainment" (Routledge) and "Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality" (Routledge). His edited collections include "Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World" (second edition forthcoming, NYU Press) and "Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era" (NYU Press). Gray was co-editor of Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture from 2007 to 2012. He is the founder and senior editor of Antenna, a five-year-old, large-group blog in media and cultural studies that originates in Madison. Gray has delivered more than two dozen talks and keynote addresses, including presentations at Harvard University, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, University of Bologna, Italy, and Zhejiang University, China. He holds a Ph.D. from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He grew up in Toronto, London, Perth (Australia), Singapore, Hong Kong and Vancouver (British Columbia) before coming to the U.S.
John Huey is the former Editor-in-Chief of Time, Inc., a position he held from 2006 until 2012. In that position he oversaw the publication of over 150 magazines, including Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Southern Living, Real Simple, Essence, InStyle, Money, and Golf and also oversaw the content for Time Warner’s websites. Before becoming Editor-in-Chief, he worked as the Editorial Director for Time, Inc. from 2001 to 2005. Before his editorial position at Time, Inc., Huey started working at Fortune magazine in 1988 and became the Managing Editor in 1995, leading the magazine to earn a spot on Advertising Age’s list of best magazines in 1999 and 2001. During his time at Fortune, he also was the founding editor of Southpoint Magazine (1989-1990).
John is a Georgia native and a UGA alumnus. After serving in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer, he began his journalism career first at the DeKalb New Era before moving on to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and then The Wall Street Journal. He worked as WSJ’s Atlanta bureau chief before moving to Brussels to work on launching the European edition of the paper, where he worked as the founding managing editor.
Huey is the winner of the Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism (2013), awarded by the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Through his experience at Shorenstein, he became co-creator of Riptide, an Oral History of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology—a multimedia, archival website to be launched jointly by Shorenstein and Harvard’s Nieman Labs in September of 2013.
Prof. of Comm., Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education at USC
Henry Jenkins is one of the foremost writers and thinkers on new media. He received his PhD in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduation, he was hired by the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) where he became the founder and co-Director of the Comparative Media Studies Masters Program. After twenty years at MIT, he moved to the University of Southern California where he is now the Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education. There, he has served as the Principal Investigator for the Media, Activism, and Participatory Politics Project (under funding from the MacArthur Foundation) and has overseen the work of the Participatory Learning and You! Project (with funding from the Gates Foundation), and served as the Chief Advisor to the Annenberg Innovation Lab.
Jenkins has published more than 15 books on various aspects of new media, popular culture, and public life, starting with Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture in 1992. His most recent books have included Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the Literature Classroom (2013) and Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture (2013). In addition to his academic publishing, he blogs regularly at henryjenkins.org, has had a regular column in Technology Review and Computer Games magazine, and has published in Harpers, Salon, Boom, The New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Learning, and Independent Schools, among many others.
Executive Director of the International Documentary Association
Simon Kilmurry became Executive Director of the International Documentary Association earlier this year 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 that he has executive produced have won numerous honors, including five Peabodys, a Primetime Emmy, 14 News & Documentary Emmys, three DuPont Columbia Awards and two Overseas Press Club Awards.
Martha Nelson joined Yahoo Media as the company's Global Editor-in-Chief in August 2015. Before taking this position, 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, with duties also including overseeing the production of several InStyle TV specials and the launch of InStyle.com. She went on to be the editor of People magazine, guiding the re-launch People.com to become the No. 1 entertainment magazine website. Nelson’s illustrious 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 she 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.
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, writes a column, "Monica Matters," for Southern Seasons Magazine, 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 her 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.
Marquita Pool-Eckert is Co-chair of The Friends of Education, an affiliate group of The Museum of Modern Art, in New York. Since retiring from her position as senior producer of CBS News Sunday Morning, she taught broadcast journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Hunter College, CUNY.
During her 30-year career at CBS News, Pool-Eckert also worked as a producer for CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, covering events such as the 9/11 attack on The World Trade Center, Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in South Africa, and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. She also produced stories with legendary anchor Charles Kuralt, and music profiles for the acclaimed jazz pianist, Dr. Billy Taylor, for Sunday Morning. Pool-Eckert received her BA from Boston University and her MS from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Honors for her work include 12 national Emmys, a MUSE Award from New York Women in Film and Television, and Alumni of the Year Award from Columbia Univ. Graduate School of Journalism.
Co-host of "HOLA! LA” on KCAL/KCBS, Host and producer for Ora TV
Naibe Reynoso is an Emmy- and AP Award-winning journalist, host and media producer whose work spans television, radio and on-line news platforms. As a television journalist and producer, she has worked in the Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles television markets. She has served as a news, entertainment and lifestyle reporter for Univision, Reelz Channel, CNN Español and Fox News Latino. Reynoso is also co-host of "HOLA! LA,” a morning talk television program on KCAL/KCBS in Los Angeles. Earlier in her career, Reynoso was co-host and news anchor for Radiovisa, the Spanish-language talk-radio network. She also hosted and produced the children’s education TV show, "Chiquitran," for KWHY-TV in Los Angeles, and won a regional Emmy for her work on "Mas Exitos" in Phoenix. Reynoso currently works as host and producer for Ora TV, Larry King’s on-demand digital television network. Reynoso also teaches media and journalism classes at UCLA extension. She is a graduate of UCLA and hails from Los Angeles, where she still resides.
As VP, Film/TV Relations for BMI, Doreen Ringer Ross oversees all activity from the Los Angeles-based department serving film and television composers. Prior to BMI, Ringer Ross held artist development positions at A&M Records, ABC Records, and MCA Records, and also worked in television production as a producer for a wide array of television programs.
Ringer Ross works closely with BMI’s many celebrated film and television composers, including John Williams, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, Dave Grusin, Mike Post, W.G. “Snuffy” Walden, David Newman, Alan Silvestri, Mark Mothersbaugh, Charlie Fox, Lalo Schifrin, Richard Sherman, Alan Menken, Randy Edelman and many more. She is responsible for signing many other composers to BMI including Harry Gregson-Williams, Terence Blanchard, Rachel Portman, Graeme Revell, Christopher Young, David Arnold, Stewart Copeland, Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna, Rolfe Kent, George S. Clinton, Alexandre Desplat among many others.
Ringer Ross serves as the Vice Chair of the Board for Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and on the Music Advisory Board member at UCLA. She also is on the Business Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation, the Advisory Board of the American Youth Symphony, and the GRAMMY Museum Education Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Society of Composers and Lyricists, the National Academy of Songwriters, Women In Film, and AFI.
Director, Native American and Indigenous Program at Sundance Institute
Bird Runningwater belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache peoples, and was reared on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California where he serves as the Director of Sundance Institute's Native American and Indigenous Program. He oversees the NativeLab Film Fellowship, the Indigenous Producers Initiative, The Full-Circle Youth Fellowship, Sundance Film Festival's Native Forum, and most recently started leading Diversity work Institute-wide. The filmmakers and projects he has identified for support include Spirit Award nominee Sterlin Harjo (Four Sheets to the Wind, Barking Water); Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark, Boy); Michael Moore Founders Prize Awardee Billy Luther (Miss Navajo, Grab); Sundance Jury Prize and Berlinale Crystal Bear Award winner Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Sikumi, On The Ice); Spirit Award nominated Aurora Guerrero's Mosquita Y Mari, and OutFest Award Winner Sydney Freeland's Drunktown's Finest. Forthcoming projects include: Yolanda Cruz La Raya; Ciara Lacy's Out of State; and, Ty Sanga's After Mele. Internationally, Runningwater has established Indigenous filmmaker Labs in New Zealand and Australia, which have spawned such projects as Briar Grace Smith's The Strength of Water (NZ); Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah (AUS), Rachel Perkins' Bran Nue Dae (AUS) and Beck Coles' Here I Am (AUS).
Before joining Sundance Institute, Runningwater was based in New York City and served as executive director of the Fund of the Four Directions, the private philanthropy of a Rockefeller family member. Prior to that, he served as program associate in the Ford Foundation's Media, Arts, and Culture Program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the George Foster Peabody Awards and as a member of Comcast/NBCUniversal's Joint Diversity Council. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in Journalism and Native American Studies, and he received his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Maureen Ryan is chief television critic for Variety. In 2011, she won the Los Angeles Press Club Award for Online Entertainment Critic of the Year, and in 2013, Complex magazine named her best TV writer in America. She has moderated panels at San Diego Comic-Con, at the Paley Center for the Media and at WorldCon, and she has served on juries for the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Shows of the Year and the New York Television Festival. She has done commentary about television for NPR, CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets, and she is on the board of the Television Critics Association.
Prior to joining the Variety in 2015, Ryan served as the television critic of the Huffington Post for five years and the Chicago Tribune for seven years. Before being named critic at the Tribune, Ryan covered pop culture, the Internet, the media and music for the newspaper. Earlier in her career, she worked for the film and television magazine Cinescape and was the founding editor of the Official X-Files Magazine. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and received her Masters from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and son.
Retired Senior Vice-President News, Hearst Television
Fred Young is the former Senior Vice President of News at Hearst Television where he oversaw the Washington D.C. News Bureau as well as TV stations in 26 markets across 22 different states. Under Young’s leadership, the Hearst stations launched election-coverage initiatives that ended up earning Hearst a remarkable four consecutive Walter Cronkite Awards, the highest honor for TV coverage of politics.
Young was recognized by the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation with a First Amendment Service Award in 2002 and with the prestigious Paul White award in 2009. Young began his career with Hearst in 1962 working at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh where he led the station to garner multiple local and national awards. He also served as the president of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition to his work on the Peabody Board, he serves as a judge for the Hearst Journalism Awards for college journalism students and is a member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Prof. of Comm. at the University of Pennsylvania, former President of the International Communication Assoc.
Barbie Zelizer is the Raymond Williams Professor of Communication and Director of the Scholars Program in Culture and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. A former journalist, Zelizer is known for her work in the area of journalism, culture, memory and images, particularly in times of crisis. She has authored or edited thirteen books, including the award-winning volumes About To Die: How News Images Move the Public (Oxford, 2010) and Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory Through the Camera's Eye (Chicago, 1998), and over a hundred articles, book chapters and essays. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Freedom Forum Center Research Fellowship, a Fellowship from Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, and a Fellowship from Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Zelizer is also a media critic, whose work has appeared in The Nation, PBS News Hour, The Huffington Post, Newsday, and other media organs. Coeditor of Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, she is a recent President of the International Communication Association. Her work has been translated into French, Korean, Turkish, Romanian, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew and Portuguese.