The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards


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  • “Money for Nothing;” “The Buried and the Dead;” “Television Justice;” “Kinder Prison”
    “Money for Nothing;” “The Buried and the Dead;” “Television Justice;” “Kinder Prison”

    Investigations revealing that a major U.S. financial institution is making loans to non-existent companies in Mexico, that regional law-enforcement officers had collaborated with news crews to produce a prime-time TV program, that conditions in a prison housing children were deplorable, and that pipelines carrying gas into homes are unsafe—and they all come from one Dallas, Texas, television station. In these stories, truly outstanding work extends far beyond the home studio, all the way to international corruption. It links small town life and nationally broadcast television programs. It follows the practices of federal immigration officials whose policies harmed children. And it... read more

  • 30 Rock
    30 Rock

    The old adage that we shouldn’t want to see how things are made may hold for the sausage factory, but peeking into the backstage of a late-night TV show sure is fun. It’s a fake backstage, of course, but something about 30 Rock rings true. Perhaps the writer’s room isn’t always quite this weird—or perhaps it is. Maybe the top-of-the-tower executive isn’t as strange as Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy—but maybe he is. And it could be that Tina Fey’s Liz Limon isn’t really Tina Fey—but then again…. If we were “really” inside the “real” NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, behind... read more

  • 60 Minutes: The Killings in Haditha
    60 Minutes: The Killings in Haditha

    The war in Iraq, like all wars, is fraught with confusion and complexity, with terrible events that leave some dead, some wounded, some scarred with memory and regret. The Killings in Haditha is an investigation of such an event. In November 2005, a squad of U.S. Marines killed 24 civilians, among them women, children and elderly townspeople. The worst single killing of civilians by American troops since Vietnam, it was clearly a massacre to some observers, to others a regrettable but defensible stake. 60 Minutes’ report is the result of an intense, year-long investigation that entailed scrutinizing visual evidence and... read more

  • A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses
    A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses

    A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses is a rambling, non-fiction road movie in which producer-writer Venelin Petkov and his videographers take detour after detour to reach their stated goal: to show Afghanistan to international viewers “from a point of view rarely explored by Western media—that of the Afghan people themselves.” Much of the beautifully shot documentary is concerned with how and why Afghan farmers and their families grow massive crops of opium-yielding poppies despite legal prohibitions and moral conflicts with Islam. We meet poppy harvesters who look more like a youth soccer team than terrorists or criminals. We meet... read more

  • Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century
    Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century

    For most of us, “art” is what appears on walls, in sculpture gardens, on film or video or in installations. But for the artists themselves, art begins long before these artifacts take final form. For them, art is a process that involves observation, description, analysis, and synthesis. Art is about making ideas, concepts and visions into something tangible or visible, something to be experienced. Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century captures the exciting creative processes that precede the making. In segments dealing with “romance” or “protest,” for example, we watch as artists describe their own thinking, their approaches to understanding those... read more

  • Bob Woodruff Reporting: Wounds of War—The Long Road Home for Our Nation’s Veterans
    Bob Woodruff Reporting: Wounds of War—The Long Road Home for Our Nation’s Veterans

    Bob Woodruff’s survival and recovery from massive wounds suffered in Iraq are often described as miraculous. Equally miraculous is his commitment to turning that personal experience to great public purpose. His series of remarkable news reports begins with a terrifying examination of events leading to and following the explosion that almost took his life and those of his crew. From that point, the comments of family members, most powerfully his wife, Lee, and of friends and colleagues, doctors and nurses lead viewers into the excruciating personal aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Few who suffer such injuries fare so well... read more

  • CBS Sunday Morning: The Way Home
    CBS Sunday Morning: The Way Home

    There is something resolutely dignified about this report, despite its potentially sensational subject matter. In an unadorned studio, correspondent Kimberly Dozier interviews Dawn Halfaker, who lost her right arm in Iraq. In a second segment, she interviews Jaunita Wilson. When Wilson lost her left hand in the war, she became the first combat amputee in U.S. military history who is also a mother. Both women speak openly with Dozier in part because she, too, is a casualty. In 2006, her legs were smashed when a car bomb exploded as she covered a patrol action in Baghdad. While all three speak... read more

  • CNN Presents: God’s Warriors
    CNN Presents: God’s Warriors

    It is hardly a secret that religious fundamentalism has become a major political force throughout the world. Too often, however, any real knowledge of the phenomenon ends when that simple statement has been made. To fully understand the implications of the rise and spread of fundamentalism it is necessary to explore history, to seek connections, to recognize variations and to be involved with the individuals and circumstances that expand a reductive definition. These are the strategies applied by Christiane Amanpour and the teams that produced God’s Warriors. “There are millions of people around the world who feel that their faith... read more

  • Craft in America
    Craft in America

    “Craft” is a term packed with many meanings. This series of three interrelated, one-hour programs sets out to unpack those meanings and to explore the history and continuing significance of craft work. Each of the three topics provides unusually specific focus for this task. “Memory” examines the history of craft movements in America. “Landscape” situates craft and craft workers both geographically and in terms of the materials used in creative activities. “Community” again places people and objects within contexts, in this case the very special networks of schools, mentors, pioneers and practitioners. But all this conceptual elaboration is presented through... read more

  • Design Squad
    Design Squad

    Design Squad is a true delight—educational television in the best sense of the term. This series, directed at viewers ages 12 to 17, works because it recognizes and appreciates the intelligence of its intended audience. It also engages that audience, drawing on their knowledge, and love, of reality television contests. A generation of viewers as familiar with Survivor and Project Runway as they are with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street will surely appreciate the pace, the enthusiasm, the personality clashes and compromises. But here they can also appreciate the intellectual and physical challenges involved as their peers struggle to... read more

  • Dexter

    Few television programs, certainly few within the realm of “entertainment,” have delved so deeply into moral quandary as has Dexter. How far, the series asks, are “we” willing to go in our frequent celebration of vigilante justice in popular culture? What is the limit of our tolerance of the violence so often taken for granted in more conventional television programs? Are we truly ready to claim that murderers should be executed, even if by the hand of an individual, if they escape official systems of enforcement and justice? A focus on a sociopathic serial murderer hardly seems a compelling narrative... read more

  • Fight for Open Records
    Fight for Open Records

    In July 2005, Jim Parsons, a reporter with WTAE in Pittsburgh, requested financial records from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Association (PHEAA), the agency that provides loans and grants to Pennsylvania students. Parsons cited Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, a statute central to oversight of public agencies. Reporters for the Associated Press and the Harrisburg Patriot News also filed requests for records. These very typical, sometimes taken for granted requests were met with a law suit naming all three reporters in a civil action. The reporters countersued. And eighteen months later, they won. The opened records revealed a mismanaged agency... read more

  • FRONTLINE: Cheney’s Law
    FRONTLINE: Cheney’s Law

    Political thrillers as complex and engrossing as Cheney’s Law ordinarily come to PBS from England by way of Masterpiece Theatre. This riveting hour is purely American—and purely non-fiction. It’s a meticulous examination of how Vice President Dick Cheney has acted upon his long-held, well-documented belief that the power of the U.S. Presidency, weakened after the scandals of the Nixon Administration, needed to be restored and enhanced for the good of the nation. According to FRONTLINE‘s report, Cheney already had an enthusiastic ally in President George W. Bush when terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Those horrific events energized and emboldened... read more

  • Independent Lens: Billy Strayhorn — Lush Life
    Independent Lens: Billy Strayhorn — Lush Life

    Billy Strayhorn is one of America’s least-known musical geniuses, a jazz composer, arranger and pianist who worked in the shadow of the renowned Duke Ellington, contributing such signature classics as “Take the ‘A’ Train’ and “Lush Life” to the Ellington oeuvre. The Independent Lens biography elevates Strayhorn and explores the primary reason he isn’t better known. Strayhorn was openly gay in an era when even free-spirited jazz musicians tended to be staunchly homophobic. Ellington, who instantly recognized Strayhorn’s precocity, gave him an outlet for his music, albeit at a price. Strayhorn didn’t share equally in the credit or the profits... read more

  • Independent Lens: Sisters in Law
    Independent Lens: Sisters in Law

    Documentary filmmakers remind us that the world is not everywhere the same, not as familiar as our own taken-for-granted experiences, not always as we wish it to be. With their cameras and microphones, they observe and record, comment and teach. Sisters in Law, presented under the Independent Lens banner, does all this as it takes us into Kumba, a small town in Cameroon. In Kumba, there have been no convictions for spousal abuse in 17 years, despite wide-spread knowledge that such abuse takes place. Director Kim Longinotto and co-director Florence Ayisi observe and record the work of women who change... read more

  • Just Words
    Just Words

    Don’t be fooled by the modest title. Just Words speaks volumes, and it has its own spare eloquence. The series of 55 four-minute reports broadcast by WYPR-FM in Baltimore, WYPF-FM in Frederick, Maryland, and WYPO-FM in Ocean City, gave some of that urban area’s most marginalized citizens a rare, mainstream-media opportunity to speak for themselves unfiltered. On Just Words, an HIV-positive ex-felon describes the difficulty of finding a decent paying job. On Just Words, a 70-year-old woman explains how she struggles to raise the grandchildren her drug-addict kids have left with her on $700 a month. On Just Words, workers... read more

  • Mad Men
    Mad Men

    A haze of cigarette smoke clouds the office. The sideboard is stocked with liquor and glasses. This is where the advertising men who inhabit Mad Men spend their days, smoking, drinking, making rude comments about the “girls” who type their copy and arrange the schedules that dissolve into two-martini lunches. This is where they do their work, where they set about manufacturing desire for products and presidents. This shrewd account of American culture sliding into the 1960s, holding by fingernails onto the attitudes of the post-WWII 1950s, is as sharp as the creases in the two button suits, as precise... read more

  • mtvU: Half of Us
    mtvU: Half of Us

    In the past year, more than half of all college students in America reported experiencing forms of depression that overwhelmed their everyday lives. mtvU: Half of Us addressed this startling statistic with a multi-platform campaign that includes a thorough website and numerous public service spots. An understanding of the issues, solutions, warning signs, upbeat music, and personal stories are among the many topics provided online. By offering numerous ways to help college students deal with their stressful lives, Half of Us uses its widespread influence to successfully address these problems. Various celebrities reveal their own personal struggles with depression, eating... read more

  • NATURE: Silence of the Bees
    NATURE: Silence of the Bees

    No episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was ever more perplexing than Silence of the Bees. This forensic installment of the NATURE anthology sought to discover why honeybees are dying off in droves around the world. The mystery has no “whodunit” moment. Botanists, beekeepers and epidemiologists tell the producers the cause may be an AIDS-like virus, a parasite, pesticides, malnutrition, a factor still unknown, or some combination thereof. What makes the artfully shot documentary so compelling, its lack of denouement notwithstanding, is its thorough explanation of just how crucial “the Earth’s premiere pollinators” are to the human race’s happiness, if... read more

  • Nimrod Nation
    Nimrod Nation

    Life seems to move slowly in Watersmeet, Michigan. Like much of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula it’s a place with its own pace, its own rhythms. For the most part, these are the rhythms of the natural world, and the beauty of Nimrod Nation lies, in part, in director Brett Morgen’s reluctance to move his camera. Sunlight filtered through evergreens throws shadows on bright snow. Fishermen set their shelters and drill into thick ice. And drill some more. Hunters track deer, shoot, skin, and butcher. But there’s another tempo at work in Watersmeet, too. Inside the gym the mighty Nimrod basketball team... read more

  • NOVA: Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
    NOVA: Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

    In 2004, a group of parents in Dover, Pennsylvania, sued their local school board. The suit protested the board’s requirement that science teachers must read a statement telling their students that intelligent design, or “I.D.,” is a legitimate scientific alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. The plaintiffs argued that I.D. was merely creationism, the teaching of which in public schools is constitutionally prohibited, in disguise. Cameras were not allowed in the federal court, but Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, an installment of NOVA, recreates verbatim key portions of the six-week trial. NOVA‘s point of view is undeniable. It is,... read more

  • Planet Earth
    Planet Earth

    From the darkest caves of New Zealand, where glow worms use their lights to lure insects to threads of mucus, to the plains of Mongolia, where approximately two million gazelle convene in vast grasslands to give birth, Planet Earth invites us to look at our world with childlike wonderment. Using the most advanced filmmaking techniques, photographers spent five years in over 200 locations capturing breathtaking images in those corners of our planet still unmarked by humans. The payoff is truly remarkable. Stunning cinematography and enlightening narration guide the viewer through an experience that can startle even the most devoted nature-watcher.... read more

  • Project Runway
    Project Runway

    Project Runway’s motto could be: “Reality Is What Reality Does.” The heart of this series is the creative process. The payoff is that viewers are able to see what has been created. In an excellent use of a visual medium, viewers watch as designs are rendered, material is purchased, cloth is cut, sewn, fitted and displayed. In the end, it is the work that counts. These people have made things, real things. Clothes—clothes that can be worn. Perhaps they are costumes. Perhaps they have been made from outlandish materials. Perhaps there is nothing “average” about the choices, about the models,... read more

  • Security Risks at Sky Harbor
    Security Risks at Sky Harbor

    Following up on information from a source, KNXV reporter Lisa Fletcher and her team spent the night in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. They resembled other stranded travelers who would crunch themselves into an uncomfortable overnight stay. Their camera, however, inside the handle of a suitcase, recorded a sequence of events almost unbelievable in today’s security conscious circumstances. At midnight, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees shut down the airport’s x-ray machines and metal detectors and left for the night. The security guard who came on duty then allowed airport employees and delivery personnel to enter the airport at will, carrying... read more

  • Speaking of Faith: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi
    Speaking of Faith: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi

    Since its premiere in July 2003, Speaking of Faith has regularly included Islam in its thoughtful, sometimes provocative considerations of religion, ethics, meaning and ideas. The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi is an especially rich inquiry that mingles music, poetry readings and host Krista Tippett’s interview with an Iranian-American poet and scholar, Fatemeh Keshavarz. Together these elements illuminate the life, work and legacy of the 13th Century Islamic mystic, madrassa teacher and poet known to westerners as Rumi. Dervishes still whirl to his lyrical poetry, which is enjoying a popular revival around the world. Apart from the pure aural pleasure of... read more

  • Taxi to the Dark Side
    Taxi to the Dark Side

    The hideous death of an Afghani taxi driver while in U.S. military custody in 2002 gave director Alex Gibney the central thread of this searing documentary—an exploration of how the disgraceful abuses of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo could happen. The cabbie, named Dilawar, was arrested for allegedly being a party to rocket attacks on American troops. Five days into his interrogation, he was dead, his legs beaten to a literal pulp. Gibney conducts frank, on-camera interviews with American soldiers, some of whom faced courts-martial for their roles in the death of a man later proven to be the innocent victim... read more

  • The Brian Lehrer Show
    The Brian Lehrer Show

    Talk radio these days is so overwhelmingly polarized—or polarizing—that The Brian Lehrer Show can seem more like an artifact than an anomaly. But it’s very much in the present, reuniting the estranged terms “civil” and “discourse” five mornings a week like no other show on the air. Lehrer makes the most of New York’s enormous, sometimes fractious diversity. He takes on the most nettlesome issues of the day, from immigration to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to cops-and-minorities, and deftly keeps his studio guests and his call-in contributors both on point and respectful. On his show, New Yorkers of vastly different backgrounds... read more

  • The Colbert Report
    The Colbert Report

    Stephen Colbert has a killer resume. The Comedy Central star has a best-selling book out and his own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. Oh, and he ran for president. Though his bid failed, he succeeded at exposing many of the absurdities of our political system. Running in both Democratic and Republican primaries as South Carolina’s “favorite son,” Colbert lampooned the backroom politics that kept his name off the ballot. From satirizing campaign finance with his “Hail to the Cheese—Stephen Colbert’s Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage” to catching members of Congress off guard in his “Better Know a... read more

  • The MTT Files
    The MTT Files

    The absence of musical snobbery is one of the key attractions of The MTT Files, an eight-part public radio series anchored by Michael Tilson Thomas, a piano prodigy who grew up to be, among other things, the current music director of the San Francisco Symphony. Thomas’ “files” are bursting with anecdotes and observations gleaned from creative associations and study going back nearly 50 years. In an hour entitled “You Call That Music?!,” he opens listeners’ ears to challenging new music by reminding us, verbally and with samples, that now-beloved compositions by Beethoven and other classical icons were initially booed by... read more

  • To Die in Jerusalem
    To Die in Jerusalem

    Few if any events are more terrible for a parent than the loss of a child. To Die in Jerusalem explores the anguish of two mothers whose daughters die in the same violent moment. Ayat al-Akhras ended her life as a suicide bomber in a Jerusalem supermarket. Rachel Levy and a security guard died in the blast. Rachel Levy was 17 years old, Ayat al-Akhras 18. Their homes were a few miles—and several cultures—apart. Two girls, two outlooks, two political entities, two families, two stories and the two mothers who tell them—these are the elements of this most heartbreaking of... read more

  • Virginia Tech Shootings: The First 48 Hours
    Virginia Tech Shootings: The First 48 Hours

    On April 16, 2007, television viewers throughout the world watched in horror and sadness as the story of the shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University developed. No organization covered the events at Virginia Tech more precisely and thoroughly or provided to its most immediate local viewers more detailed information than WSLS. On the first day of these events, the station broke away from local coverage only for a brief 20-minute connection to NBC Nightly News. Returning to heavy coverage on the morning of the second day, the station resumed total coverage at noon and continued until midnight. Facts... read more

  • Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
    Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

    It would be entirely in keeping with the mischievous spirit of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me to refer to it as something like “Washington Week in Rebuke,” but the public-radio series is much more than a predictable news satire or a typical week-that-was review. Its creators and producers have taken a radio genre that peaked in the 1930s and ‘40s—the quiz show exemplified by Dr. IQ and Information, Please—and re-imagined it as a hip but folksy contest-cum-convention for news and current affairs junkies. Each week, host Peter Sagal and judge-scorekeeper Carl Kassell test the current-events knowledge and the wit of a... read more

  • White Horse Village
    White Horse Village

    To travel from Chongqing, the boomtown megalopolis on China’s east coast, to White Horse Village, deep in its interior, “is to travel two centuries in two days,” correspondent Carrie Gracie explains in this beautiful, hard-hitting newscast feature. Largely bypassed by the great convulsions of Chinese history, verdant, sleepy, near-feudal White Horse is on the verge of obliteration. The Chinese government is determined to march its capitalistic “economic miracle” inland. Houses and fields are razed at a dizzying clip to make way for high-rise apartments, factories and freeways. Yet the strength of the report is not just the striking images, the... read more

  • Whole Lotta Shakin’
    Whole Lotta Shakin’

    Taking its title from Jerry Lee Lewis’ 1957 smash, Whole Lotta Shakin’ is a 10-hour history and celebration of rockabilly, the raucous blend of hillbilly and blues that enjoyed only a brief heyday in the mid-1950s but continues to influence rock ‘n’ rollers to this day. Producer Alex Gillespie spent months traversing the South to record interviews with more than 100 rockabilly pioneers: disc jockeys and record producers as well as surviving singers and musicians. Excerpts from their reminiscences, along with narration by neo-rockabilly Rosie Flores, annotate more than 200 tunes, from definitive classics such as Elvis Presley’s “Baby, Let’s... read more

  • Ya Es Hora
    Ya Es Hora

    Although applications were still being processed at the end of 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed receiving more than twice the number of citizenship applications filed in 2006. Ya Es Hora (It’s Time), an outstanding public service campaign from Univision Communications in collaboration with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), impreMedia and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), clearly contributed to that increase. With a half-hour kick-off special, many more spots on both radio and television and NALEO’s toll free hotline, the project encouraged and educated legal immigrants... read more