The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards

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  • “Choose or Lose” Campaign
    1992
    “Choose or Lose” Campaign

    In its short life, MTV has variously been praised and vilified for its influence on musical taste, fashion, movies, television, and advertising. In 1992, MTV turned its attention to increasing the political awareness of its viewers and promoting their participation in local and national elections. The result was Choose or Lose, a multimedia campaign which contributed to the largest turnout among young voters since 1972. While it is impossible to credit MTV as solely instrumental in this regard, there is no doubt that the amount of airtime devoted to voter registration and voter information, and the powerful and compelling messages... read more

  • ABC News Nightline Special: 72 Hours to Victory: Behind the Scenes with Bill Clinton
    1992
    ABC News Nightline Special: 72 Hours to Victory: Behind the Scenes with Bill Clinton

    In the final three days preceding the 1992 presidential election, Ted Koppel and ABC News Nightline were granted extraordinary access to candidate Bill Clinton, his campaign headquarters, and his inner circle of advisors, pollsters, and handlers. It is one thing to receive such access; it is another to interweave a variety of interviews and appearances across the nation into timely and thoughtful analysis. This is precisely what is achieved in this outstanding and revealing report. Editorial manager and anchor Ted Koppel, ably assisted by executive producer Tom Bettag, senior producers Mark Nelson and C. Scott Willis, and director Tony Barrett... read more

  • ABC News Nightline Special: Moment of Crisis, Anatomy of a Riot
    1992
    ABC News Nightline Special: Moment of Crisis, Anatomy of a Riot

    It is extremely rare for a single news program to receive two Peabody Awards in the same year. However, in the view of the Peabody Board this documentary stood on its own as worthy of recognition. This special investigation by the superb Nightline team presented a detailed, behind-the-scenes account of the hours immediately preceding and following the announcement of the Rodney King verdict on April 29, 1992. Most importantly, in interviewing the principals from the trial - including members of the Los Angeles police department, the Mayor and others in his office, and the residents of Simi Valley and the... read more

  • Abortion: Desperate Choices
    1992
    Abortion: Desperate Choices

    Perhaps no other topic of contemporary concern stirs emotional debate as does abortion. Here, however, the cinema verite techniques pioneered by Maysles Films and used superbly by Susan Froemke and Deborah Dickson with Albert Maysles, allow the abortion debate to be presented in a way that is unencumbered by ideology. Filmed in and around the Women’s Health Services Clinic in Pittsburgh, this program tells the stories of several women who make the painful decision to terminate their pregnancies. The human side of the abortion issue, including the impact of the decision on immediate family, relatives, counselors, and other health professionals... read more

  • Age Seven in America
    1992
    Age Seven in America

    Based on the 30 year documentary originated in England by filmmaker Michael Apted, this program represents a unique achievement: it encapsulates the contemporary American condition in the words and images of seven-year-olds around the country. Included are telling statements and opinions about education, ethics, religion, relationships, crime, contemporary events, and most importantly, the outlook for the future. Director Phil Joanou has set a high standard for this series as it sets out to revisit these eloquent and outspoken caretakers of the American dream over the next few decades. We congratulate CBS-TV and Granada Television on this achievement and look forward... read more

  • AIDS
    1992
    AIDS

    While the introduction of television into the schools has been a hotly debated issue, there is no doubt that this issue, there is no doubt that this series delivered an important message to its “captive” audience. It is estimated that Channel One reaches an audience of eight million teenagers daily. Through this substantial series on HIV and AIDS, many of those eight million learned first-hand from their peers the hard and often brutal facts of this disease. Moreover, the series offered solid information to debunk persistent myths prevalent among teenagers, and provided potentially life-saving advice and guidance. Together, these reports... read more

  • American Folklife Radio Project
    1992
    American Folklife Radio Project

    With this award the Peabody Board continues a tradition of recognizing the audio artist and highlighting the role radio plays in preserving our oral tradition. With admirable range and an uncanny ear, producer David Isay travels the country in search of the small stories and large legends which comprise our heritage. From an interview with the last seltzer man in Brooklyn, to a pilgrimage to the nation’s only coon dog graveyard, to a fox hunting trip deep in east Texas, Mr. Isay records memorable characters and institutions with appreciation and not derision. With this Peabody recognition, we encourage Mr. Isay... read more

  • Car Talk
    1992
    Car Talk

    Perhaps more appropriately named “Zen and the Art of Automobile Maintenance,” this entertaining and informative show takes us simultaneously under the hood and into the mind of its vast listening audience. Each week, master mechanics Tom and Ray Magliozzi provide useful information about preserving and protecting our cars. But the real core of this program is what it tells us about human mechanics. It teaches us that we all need to change our oil regularly, flush our cooling system, and keep our wheels in balance. The insight and laughter provided by Messrs. Magliozzi, in conjunction with their producer Doug Berman,... read more

  • Citizen Cohn
    1992
    Citizen Cohn

    As one member of the Peabody National Advisory Board observed, this was “perhaps the best film produced for any medium in 1992.” Citizen Cohn represents an outstanding achievement in documenting an important era and in exposing the public and private life of an influential individual from our recent past. What sets Citizen Cohn apart from the more mundane movies one encounters on television is its outstanding ensemble of actors and the intelligence and perception of its writing. From James Woods in the title role to Joe Don Baker, Joseph Bologna, Ed Flanders, Frederic Forrest, Lee Grant, and Pat Hingle, among... read more

  • Close to Home: The Tammy Boccomino Story
    1992
    Close to Home: The Tammy Boccomino Story

    Television has played an enormous role in our understanding of the AIDS pandemic. While broadcast coverage of this subject has been generally responsible, it has tended to emphasize those at the far ends of the disease’s spectrum: the desperately poor victim and the afflicted celebrity. Close to Home: The Tammy Boccomino Story chooses a less showy subject—a young suburban housewife and her family. In Harvey Ovshinsky’s understated documentary, the family grapples with the fear, anger, and guilt that come with this disease, eloquently illustrating the common sense and quiet courage it takes to live with AIDS. For informing and educating... read more

  • Coverage of the Los Angeles Riots
    1992
    Coverage of the Los Angeles Riots

    On April 29, 1992, the non-guilty verdicts in the Rodney King trial of four Los Angeles police officers sparked a four-day rebellion that devastated the city of Los Angeles. Local station KJLH-FM is located in the Crenshaw district, the heart of what became the largest urban civil disturbance in America in more than a century. As burning and looting literally surrounded the station, KJLH abandoned its usual music format- including commercials- and became a lifeline for its listeners. KJLH not only reported events but also opened up its phone lines for listeners to vent their outrage and frustration with the... read more

  • Gavel to Gavel Coverage of the Rodney King Trial
    1992
    Gavel to Gavel Coverage of the Rodney King Trial

    For eight weeks in the spring of 1992, residents of southern California intensely followed the criminal trial of four Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King as they anxiously awaited the verdict. Recognizing the precedent-setting nature of the trial and its impact on greater Los Angeles, one local station made the proceedings the focus of its programming. In providing gavel-to-gavel coverage, managing editor Larry Croner, field producers Myra Ming and Patrick Perez, anchor Chris Harris and reporters Dave Bryan and Jane Wells provided a unique look at the dynamics of the American justice system, for good and... read more

  • Hurricane Andrew: As It Happened
    1992
    Hurricane Andrew: As It Happened

    August 24, 1992, is a date that will long be remembered by residents of south Florida. When this storm of historic proportions and devastation reached the area, one television station excelled when residents needed it most. WTVJ took a leadership role in providing life-saving information before the hurricane made landfall, continued its excellent reporting during the cataclysmic storm, and became a focal point of relief efforts in the days and months which followed. Led by the tireless work of meteorologist Bryan Norcross, under the leadership of news director Sharon Scott and producers Scott Siebers and L. Dirk Mooth, this coverage... read more

  • Institutional Award: BBC Radio
    1992
    Institutional Award: BBC Radio

    For more than six decades, BBC Radio has been a source of information, education and entertainment for English-speaking audiences both in Britain and abroad. It is especially fitting that this award be made this year, in which the BBC World Service celebrates its 60th anniversary. During its deliberations, the Peabody Board noted the range, variety and breadth which characterize BBC Radio programming. From popular and light entertainment to sophisticated radio drama, from compelling coverage of breaking news to insightful analysis, the BBC remains a model for radio broadcasters worldwide. In making this award, it is hoped that commercial broadcasters in... read more

  • Institutional Award: C-SPAN
    1992
    Institutional Award: C-SPAN

    For more than a decade, C-SPAN has brought the day-to-day workings of Congress into millions of American homes. The network boasts no fancy production or highly-paid anchors, yet it enables viewers to watch government at work and interpret political events for themselves. Indeed, its very simplicity is revolutionary. Whether it is coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate, a speech at the National Press Club, a political convention, a local town meeting, or the business of the British Parliament, C-SPAN’s cameras are on and watching from start to finish. The Peabody Board was especially impressed with the cable... read more

  • King Biscuit Time
    1992
    King Biscuit Time

    Fifty-two years ago, when the first Peabody Awards for radio were presented, one could tune in to KFFA and hear the blues on King Biscuit Time. The same is true today. For nearly half a century and 12,000 programs, this landmark program has preserved the tradition of the blues. For many of those years and most of those shows, King Biscuit Time, has been hosted by John W. “Sunshine” Sonny Payne. Mr. Payne serves on the advisory council of the Blues Foundation, and is often called upon to lecture on the birth and sustained health of this important musical form.... read more

  • Larry King Live Election Coverage 1992
    1992
    Larry King Live Election Coverage 1992

    As the programs recognized today indicate, 1992 was a year marked by unprecedented change in coverage of the political process. Perhaps no program was more emblematic of these changes than Larry King Live. From the earliest days on the hustings in New Hampshire to the campaign’s close in town meetings in Louisville, Ky., and Racine, Wis., Larry King was indeed “live” with the candidates, their campaign managers, and political leaders from both sides of the aisle. While at one extreme the campaign was analyzed ad infinitum by political pundits, and at the other trivialized by a seemingly endless array of... read more

  • Northern Exposure: Cicely
    1992
    Northern Exposure: Cicely

    It is a rare occasion when a television entertainment series is recognized with a Peabody Award in two consecutive years. Yet this particular episode of a popular series moved the show to an even higher standard. The thrust of Northern Exposure each week concerns the means by which people of diverse backgrounds and experiences strive to accept their differences and co-exist in the community. In Cicely, this theme is given its strongest and most effective treatment. Roslyn and Cicely arrive in 1909 and encounter a town characterized by intolerance and immorality. By the close of the episode, Cicely has been... read more

  • Personal Award: Daniel Schorr
    1992
    Personal Award: Daniel Schorr

    One of the principle members of a generation of broadcast journalists identified with the highest ideals and integrity in the field, Daniel Schorr is an unmatched radio commentator. His career embodies the essence of everything for which Peabody recognition is intended. Mr. Schorr began his career as a foreign correspondent in 1946. In the early 1950s, he caught the attention of Edward R. Murrow, which led to his work for the CBS news team through much of the next two decades. In 1980, Mr. Schorr helped Ted Turner launch Cable News Network and served as its senior correspondent until 1985.... read more

  • Personal Award: Fred Rogers
    1992
    Personal Award: Fred Rogers

    In honoring Fred Rogers for a quarter-century of “beautiful days in the neighborhood,” we present his own words, summarizing his philosophy of television: “Just like a refrigerator or stove, television is seen by children as something their parents provide. In a young child’s mind, then, parents condone what’s on the television set, just like they choose what‘s in the refrigerator or on the stove! That’s why we who make television for children must be especially careful with what we produce, with the people we present and with the attitudes we show in television relationships—attitudes of respect, kindness, healthy curiosity, determination,... read more

  • POV: Color Adjustment
    1992
    POV: Color Adjustment

    It is rare when television examines itself and its influence on the American scene. It is even more rare when its self-reflection is done with intelligence, insight, and a sense of purpose. However, this is precisely the case with the study of prejudice against and current depictions of African-Americans on the home screen. From Amos ‘n Andy to The Cosby Show, Color Adjustment explores television’s vital role in marketing the American dream, and how that dream has evolved. From the lily-white early days of the 1950s to the multicultural, fragmented family of the 1990s, co-producer and director Marlon Riggs, along... read more

  • Prisoners in Bosnia
    1992
    Prisoners in Bosnia

    When correspondent Sylvia Poggioli first traveled to northern Bosnia in August 1992, the phrase “ethnic cleansing” had not yet made it into the worldwide vocabulary. In a series of courageous and important reports from the scene, Ms. Poggioli and European editor Julie M. McCarthy provided eyewitness accounts of the tragedy that has befallen the former Yugoslavia. At the time Ms. Poggioli entered the war zone of northern Bosnia, there were no United Nations peacekeepers and the area was largely inaccessible to relief workers and journalists. At great personal risk, Ms. Poggioli provided evidence that the so-called “Siege of Sarajevo,” on... read more

  • Reading Rainbow: The Wall
    1992
    Reading Rainbow: The Wall

    While the Reading Rainbow series targets beginning readers, this stirring episode has equal appeal to all ages. In “The Wall,” the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is explored and interpreted for viewers. Particularly insightful is an interview with Maya Lin, the young architect who designed the monument. We learn that each of the choices, from the original design to the use of various construction materials, was integral to the communicative impact the Wall would have on contemporary and future visitors. For a decade Reading Rainbow has shared the joy of reading with children. For setting that lofty goal and... read more

  • Rock the Vote
    1992
    Rock the Vote

    For two decades, political scientists have noted with alarm the decline in voter participation by young people. Presumed to be an indifferent group, Americans between 18 and 29 years of age were thought to be beyond the reach of the mass media in encouraging their participation in the political process. However, this unique effort developed by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (previously recognized with a Peabody Award for this innovative series “thirtysomething”), Sally Desipio, Patrick Lippert and Alan Poul, and supported by the most influential contemporary artists in music, comedy, television, and film, addressed the problem of voter apathy. As... read more

  • Roseanne
    1992
    Roseanne

    In an era when “family values” and the typical nuclear family have attained a kind of sanctity, Roseanne has the courage to look unflinchingly at contemporary family life. The Connors may not be “average” (they are far funnier, for one thing) but they are real. The series embodies a level of honesty and authenticity previously unimaginable on the small screen. This is working-class America, warts and all. Roseanne explores difficult subjects, from unemployment to homosexuality to birth control for a teenage daughter, without romanticizing family dynamics or providing easy answers. This is tough comedy with a heart. For being willing... read more

  • Seinfeld
    1992
    Seinfeld

    While this fresh and innovative situation comedy purports to be “about nothing,” its comedy is universal and instructive in many aspects of everyday life. Seinfeld* deals with common experiences as encountered by the eccentric but strangely typical characters which inhabit its universe. In doing so, it mediates contemporary reality, holding up a funhouse mirror to such themes as romantic relationships, friendships between men and women in the workplace and at home, getting along with neighbors, and dealing with family and authority figures, just to name a few. Ironically, all too often television situation comedy takes itself seriously. Happily, that fate... read more

  • Surviving Columbus
    1992
    Surviving Columbus

    1992 marked the Columbus quincentenary. Throughout the world, but especially in America, native peoples and immigrants grappled with the long-term consequences of the Native American encounter with Europeans. In the view of the Peabody Board, this local documentary captured the true legacy of this event. History texts have traditionally presented the European version of the voyage and its aftermath, often ignoring Indian accounts. With this innovative and instructive program, KNME provided a corrective effort. The station, in association with The Institute of American Indian Arts, helped achieve long-overdue recognition for the valor, determination, and achievements of the Pueblo culture before... read more

  • The American Experience: The Donner Party
    1992
    The American Experience: The Donner Party

    At its best, television documentary ascends from telling tales of contemporary or historic events to true visual poetry. This aspiration is achieved in The Donner Party. By skillfully blending historic photos and diary entries with contemporary footage of the long trek, Ric Burns, Lisa Ades and their fine filmmaking team have created a compelling metaphor for the American expansion westward. At the same time, they have reminded us of the valiant effort required for easterners to make a new life in the west in the mid-19th century. As an excellent episode in an omnibus series of cultural prominence, a Peabody... read more

  • The Health Quarterly: The AIDS Report Series
    1992
    The Health Quarterly: The AIDS Report Series

    During its deliberations, the Peabody Board encountered literally dozens of programs that attempted to address the AIDS epidemic. This series stands out for its reasoned approach and sensitive production. With care and compassion, executive producer Renata Simone, along with producers Michael Penland, Noel Buckner, and Robert Whittelsey have probed the concerns of teenagers, elicited thoughtful advice for the President, and in one of the most moving segments the Board has seen, introduced us to Gloria, a remarkable eight-year-old girl from Harlem who discovered the truth of her dad’s illness from television. The mutual respect demonstrated by the youthful subjects and... read more

  • The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney
    1992
    The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney

    One of the most destructive stereotypes in contemporary society is the passive, uninvolved, often absent male in African-American households. This program provides an alternative view. It presents the best possible role model in detailing the story of the first solo circumnavigation of the world by an African-American. Bill Pinkney’s voyage became a floating lesson in geography, history, courage, and determination for thousands of children following his progress by satellite in schools in Chicago and Boston. While much of the credit is due to the inspirational Mr. Pinkney himself, the program benefits from outstanding narration by Bill Cosby and intelligent production... read more

  • The Machine That Changed the World
    1992
    The Machine That Changed the World

    Since the dawn of recorded time, humankind has been inventing and then living with the consequences of technology. The current accommodation concerns “artificial intelligence,” the development and implications of the computer revolution. This landmark five-hour documentary of the origin and current status of computing raises as many questions as it answers. As we move from the industrial to the information age, it is likely that this work will stand as the first comprehensive inquiry into the nature of the relationship between people and computers. For exploring the human consequences of science and for documenting the development of perhaps the most... read more

  • The More You Know
    1992
    The More You Know

    Often overlooked in the longstanding debate about the so-called “demise of the networks” is the important role a large national network can play in promoting public service. This campaign reminds us of the power and value of network television. Launched in 1989, The More You Know draws on the resources of the NBC television network, its owned-and-operated stations, and its more than two hundred affiliates to focus attention on the issues affecting education throughout the United States. Members of the Peabody Board noted that the writing, production, and overall impact of the PSAs matched the level of any program submitted... read more

  • Threads of Hope
    1992
    Threads of Hope

    This year we celebrate freedom of expression and the role of free media in democracy. That theme is vividly and compellingly brought to life in this moving documentary. For 20 years, the sisters, mothers and wives of those who disappeared during the brutal military dictatorship in Chile have sewn their grief and ultimately their hope for the future into vibrant applique tapestries. The bright, hopeful colors mix with the disturbing subject matter of these tapestries, known as “Arpilleras,” to simultaneously document the tragedy which befell Chile’s sons and the optimism of these women for a better future. For vividly illustrating... read more

  • When the Salmon Runs Dry
    1992
    When the Salmon Runs Dry

    In the view of the Peabody Board, this locally produced documentary was the equal of those cited in this and previous years from major networks and internationally recognized producers of nature and wildlife programming. Writer, producer, and music composer Ben Saboonchian, assisted by reporter Brian Wood, photographer Tom Matsuzawa and editor Peter Gamba, have crafted a work which not only explores the role of salmon in the life of the Pacific northwest, but also serves as a visual representation of the interplay between the forces involved in the larger question of the future of the environment. Without taking sides, and... read more

  • Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
    1992
    Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?

    The primary goal of this significant program is to expose young viewers to the rich texture of geography. Many recent studies have concluded that American youth is largely ignorant of geography, despite the increasing internationalization of economics, politics, and culture. In addition, geography has often been presented in the curriculum as something boring, dull, and lifeless. Happily, this show—which combines animation, elements of quiz programs, detective yarns and musical-variety shows—offers an effective antidote. It simultaneously informs and entertains its target audience, those between the ages of eight and thirteen. Based on a popular computer program, the show is a uniquely... read more