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 was 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 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 Dr. Jones’s leadership, television specials of the annual Peabody Awards Ceremony have been broadcast nationally for the past four years, most recently on the PBS and FUSION networks. He also established the first-ever Advisory Board, comprised of 25 top-level media industry executives, and a Student Honor Board that each year selects recipients of the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Awards. 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 awards program.
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.
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 the 1200 entries that Peabody receives each year. The Peabody Awards adjudication process ensures that each and every entry receives full attention in its pursuit of excellence in stories that matter.
The Peabody Board of Jurors 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 session taking place at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. The University of Georgia has been the home of Peabody since it was founded in 1940, a testament to the integrity of the award and its protection from industry lobbying.
To win a Peabody, a program must receive the unanimous approval of all members of the Peabody Board of Jurors.
Beginning in 2016, the Awards will recognize 60 finalists, from which a set of 30 winners will be named across news, entertainment, public service, documentary, children’s, and web/interactive programming. “There are now more than 400 scripted prime-time television shows, new locations for documentary television, a flood of podcasts, and a wealth of quality digital storytelling,” notes Peabody Awards Director Jeffrey P. Jones. “Peabody reflects this change in order to continue to award the best of the best, while also recognizing and highlighting this expanded field of quality media production.” The Peabody Award also is distinct from other industry awards, as it gives small, local programming the same opportunity to be recognized as programs with larger production budgets.
Senior Counsel, Finn Partners; Former NBC News anchor
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.
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.
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, Deggans's stories are regularly broadcast 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 with NPR, Deggans also appears as a contributor and media analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. He 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.
Eddie Garrett is executive vice president of Global Digital Strategies at Porter Novelli. 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 Award-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., 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, and as executive vice president and head of strategy at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations and consumer marketing firm based in Chicago. He was also a member of the CNN team that won a 2005 Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Garrett holds a bachelor's degree in communications and an MBA from the University of Georgia.
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.
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 11 books. His monographs include "Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts," "Television Entertainment," and "Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality." His edited collections include "Keywords in Media Studies," "Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World," and "Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era." Gray was co-editor of "Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture" from 2007 to 2012, and will edit "International Journal of Cultural Studies" from 2018 onwards. 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 doctorate 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).
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.
Professor, Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education, USC
Henry Jenkins is one of the foremost writers and thinkers on new media. He received his doctorate 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 Master's Program. After 20 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. His most recent books are "By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism" and "Participatory Culture in a Networked Era."
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.
Editor-at-Large, The Hollywood Reporter; Host, KCRW’s "The Business"
Kim Masters is editor-at-large of The Hollywood Reporter and host of KCRW's "The Business." A former correspondent for NPR, she has also served as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, TIME and Esquire, and was a staff reporter for The Washington Post. She is the author of "The Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everybody Else," and co-author (with Nancy Griffin) of "Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood." Masters was named Entertainment Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club in June 2001 and Print Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club in June 2012. In May 2012, "The Business" received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Talk Show.
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.
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, 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.
Naibe Reynoso is an Emmy- and AP Award-winning journalist, host and media producer whose work spans television, radio and online 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 Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Host of "The Trend Talk Show," a entertainment and lifestyle English language show which highlights the community and airs in Los Angeles' MEtv Network. 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 taught media and journalism classes at UCLA extension. She is a graduate of UCLA and hails from Los Angeles, where she still resides.
Senior Counsel, Finn Partners; Former NBC News anchor
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.