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 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, 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.
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.
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.
Television Producer, Co-Founder, Carsey-Werner Company
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 SVP 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, 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, Global Digital Strategies
Eddie Garrett is Executive Vice President, Global Digital Strategies of 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 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, Head of Strategy at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations and consumer marketing firm based in Chicago. 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.
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 UC 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, and Cultural Moves.
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.
Director of Journalism and Media; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Kathy Im in her role as director oversees investments in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s 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.
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.
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.
Political Consultant; Co-creator/Co-host of Showtime’s "The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth"
Mark McKinnon is a political advisor, reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. He is the co-creator, co-executive producer, and co-host of Showtime's real-time documentary series of the 2016 presidential election: The Circus: The Greatest Political Show on Earth. 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 advisor to the firm.
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.
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.
Finn Partners Senior Counsel; Former NBC News anchor
John Seigenthaler, Finn Partners Senior Counsel, is an award winning communications professional and recognized as one of the most skilled "story-tellers" 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.