The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards

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  • 60 Minutes: Sabotaging the System
    2009
    60 Minutes: Sabotaging the System

    While we all shudder at the prospect of terrorists obtaining a tiny amount of weapons-grade plutonium, this startling 60 Minutes report brought home the very real harm a savvy hacker can do using nothing more exotic than a laptop. Using two cyber attacks that crippled electrical utilities in Brazil as a reference point, correspondent Steve Kroft and his producing team examined the implications of cyber terrorism for the United States. The worst-case scenarios, described to Kroft by some of our most knowledgeable cyber-warfare experts, were chilling: cascading, chaos-causing outages in every system we use computers to control, from electrical grids... read more

  • 60 Minutes: The Co$t of Dying
    2009
    60 Minutes: The Co$t of Dying

    Misconception and misinformation, including dire warnings of “death panels,” swirled around the health-care reform bill that finally passed in March 2010. In that context, serious, sober information about the costly realities of the United States’ unsustainable system was frequently lost. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, however, with producer Andy Cort and associate producer Maria Gavrilovic, found much needed information. The Co$t of Dying, a brave, stunning report presented November 22, 2009, meticulously documented the huge percentage of spending devoted to end-of-life care. 60 Minutes learned that in 2008, $50 billion had gone to treating patients in the final two months... read more

  • A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains
    2009
    A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains

    Central Appalachia is the most scenic ghetto in America, a region of stunning natural vistas and crushing, intractable poverty. ABC News producers spent two years in its hollows and ragged homes documenting the lives of several families. The producers and anchor/interviewer Diane Sawyer focused on four Appalachian youths trying to escape the undertow of joblessness, nutritional ignorance and inadequate health care. The candor of these young people is as memorable as their determination. Contextual reporting reminds viewers of Appalachia’s patriotic tradition and of the fatalistic courage of its coal miners. It also spotlights addictions that plague the region, notably the... read more

  • American Masters: Jerome Robbins—Something to Dance About
    2009
    American Masters: Jerome Robbins—Something to Dance About

    Seldom have biography and choreography, personality and performance, idea and ideology been so thrillingly interwoven. Watching the development of Robbins’ career and the arc of his life is like watching the creation of one of his major pieces. Step by step, he constructs a philosophy and aesthetic of dance. Observing personal choices and professional risk-taking, we learn that the public version of an artist’s life is constructed on a web of sometimes contradictory emotions, beliefs and choices. As he discusses his blend of ballet and Broadway, we understand better what the arts mean to performers as well as to audiences.... read more

  • BART Shooting
    2009
    BART Shooting

    Early on January 1, 2009, on a station platform of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in Oakland, California, BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant to death. There was no question as to the victim or the shooter. Numerous bystanders and riders on the BART system recorded the incident on video. Very quickly a videographer from KTVU television was also on the scene, recording the immediate aftermath. From that time forward, as claims, counter-claims and explanations were offered by all involved, KTVU covered events related to Grant’s death. While citizens rioted in protest, attorneys voiced opinions and... read more

  • BBC World News America
    2009
    BBC World News America

    In a time when the television industry is beset by intense competition, the segmentation of viewers, and the fragmentation of program offerings, BBC World News America, produced in the United States with the cooperation of the BBC, covers the world in important ways. The program offers more international news coverage than most other outlets. The lengthy stories are presented in especially compelling manner. Topics and issues are frequently followed over weeks or months. BBC World News America also offers a distinctive perspective on the United States, placing the nation in expansive international contexts and asking important larger questions. How do... read more

  • Brick City
    2009
    Brick City

    As an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes examination inside the heart of Newark, New Jersey, Brick City artfully illustrates the struggles of those seeking to make their city a better place. We follow a charismatic young mayor and a veteran police chief who fight to maintain hope in the face of violent crime, dwindling budgets, and a citizenry who have for decades heard their share of empty rhetoric and false promises. We are introduced to a young couple who, despite memberships in opposing gangs, wrestle to provide something better for their children and their community. Far from offering untarnished, heroic portrayals of these... read more

  • Chronicle: Paul’s Gift
    2009
    Chronicle: Paul’s Gift

    Rarely have the details of this most intimate of procedures—organ donation—been presented so clearly, so precisely and in such a compassionate manner. WYFF in Greenville,South Carolina, had planned for this special for months. The background for the program, the untimely death of 39-year-old Paul Savitz, is thoroughly explained. Previously identified potential organ recipients waited in cities, even states, far from the central location. Then, with the full cooperation of Paul’s family, viewers are with family members at the moment of his death. We see expressions of grief, but we are also informed of the precise manner in which “brain death”... read more

  • Endgame
    2009
    Endgame

    In the 1980s, South Africa was on the verge of violent revolution. The black national liberation movement, led by the African National Congress, was poised to confront the apartheid Nationalist South African government when a British businessman came forward with an audacious plan to seek a peaceful resolution. The secret talks that ensued on a remote estate in England are powerfully dramatized in this PBS/MASTERPIECE presentation directed by Pete Travis. The term “endgame” refers to the final moves in a game of chess, and this production captures all the tension and surprise of a well-played match. At the same time,... read more

  • FRONTLINE: The Madoff Affair
    2009
    FRONTLINE: The Madoff Affair

    Bernard L. Madoff and his colossal Ponzi scheme cost investors $65 billion and dominated the news for months, but few fully understood the inner workings, nor the magnitude, of this epic fraud. Veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith went behind the headlines and, through exclusive interviews with those closest to the Madoff operation, made sense for us of a complicated deception that lasted longer, reached wider, and cut deeper than any business scandal in history. Smith looked at Madoff’s first years in business, starting in the early 1960s, his brushes with the SEC in the 1990s, and how the recent financial... read more

  • Glee
    2009
    Glee

    With its ingratiating group of high-school misfits, snappy choreography and infectious soundtrack, Glee is one the most charming and refreshing programs on television. But it’s more than just a quirky hour of sing-along fun. It’s a harmonious blend of brilliant comedic interludes, painful love triangles and poignant teen drama. With a style both touching and authentic, Glee tackles difficult issues—teen pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation—without resorting to lectures. It lets the characters speak—or sing—for themselves. The grownups, too, never miss a beat. From budget squabbles and giant egos to forbidden love and fake pregnancies, they navigate both the ordinary and the... read more

  • Hard Times
    2009
    Hard Times

    Serving a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, Oregon Public Broadcasting dedicated itself in 2009 to covering the impact of the economic meltdown on everyday people’s lives. Its Hard Times reports on radio gave voice to fears and frustrations, hopes and ingenuity of a dozen representative Oregonians. They included a 61-year-old pipeline worker living off unemployment checks and firewood sales while searching for a new job, a homeless couple who’d had to stash their children with relatives, and a software entrepreneur forced to furlough longtime employees to keep his small company afloat. The unemployed half... read more

  • I-Witness: “Ambulansiyang de Paa (Ambulance on Foot)”
    2009
    I-Witness: “Ambulansiyang de Paa (Ambulance on Foot)”

    Seven years after her first documentary focused on Bansud, a remote village in the Philippines, Kara David returned. Improvements that had come to the village after her first report—solar panels, batteries, electricity—were no longer working. Some were broken. Some items had simply disappeared. But on this return visit, it was the lack of health care that became the focus of her attention. This village, like so many others in the mountainous areas, had no doctor. More important, in many situations there was no means of reaching doctors and clinics other than on foot. A hammock slung from a bamboo pole,... read more

  • In Treatment
    2009
    In Treatment

    HBO’s innovative dramatic series In Treatment moved to New York City and into its own in its powerful second season. The show’s daring, demanding format—half-hour episodes during which the therapist sees patients and then becomes a patient himself—has become as comfortable and addictive as the analyst’s couch. We watch as Dr. Paul Weston, now being sued for malpractice, delves deep in the psyche of his patients. Played with a probing intelligence by a world-weary Gabriel Byrne, Dr. Weston holds our attention and our gaze. And as his therapist, Dr. Gina Toll, Dianne Wiest gives a bravado performance, cutting through Weston’s... read more

  • Independent Lens: Between the Folds
    2009
    Independent Lens: Between the Folds

    The potential of a flat sheet of paper and that of the human mind are the subjects of Between the Folds. An elegantly constructed celebration of the history and process of origami, it is never less than fascinating and often simply wondrous. To watch some of the world’s foremost practitioners of this ancient art turn single sheets of paper into astonishingly detailed, three-dimensional objets d’art—from full-scale alligators to delicate insects, from fairyland tableaus to Picasso-esque abstractions—is to see the very essence of creation, an idea coming to life. Producer Vanessa Gould chose well the representative paper-folders who bring forth these... read more

  • Independent Lens: The Order of Myths
    2009
    Independent Lens: The Order of Myths

    In Mobile, Alabama, traditions run deep, and its annual celebration of Mardi Gras is among its oldest. The carnival that begins the Lenten season there actually pre-dates the more famous party that takes place in New Orleans. In Mobile, the secret societies (one of them named The Order of Myths) that organize the parades and balls and elect kings and queens are woven into every element of the city. With interviews and video captured in all these events, this documentary explores race, gender, class, generation, style, neighborhood, menu and music selection to explain the range of values underlying the Mardi... read more

  • Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times
    2009
    Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times

    Great American newspapers have more stories to tell than those appearing in their pages. Some of these are backstage tales of hard-bitten reporters and their scoops, or of deadlines busted in the interest of major headlines. In the richest, most multi-layered versions, those combining all these characteristics and more, the narratives of great papers are also narratives of families. And among these, none is more fraught with drama than those swirling about the Chandlers of Los Angeles, their times and their Times. The saga that began with Harrison Gray Otis—and was complicated by Harry Chandler and his sons and their... read more

  • Iran & The West
    2009
    Iran & The West

    The relationship between Iran and the West grows more dangerous with each nightly newscast. How did we get to this present day standoff? This spectacular, epic documentary from Brook Lapping Productions in London explains in fascinating, sometimes astonishing detail how the affairs of Europe, the Middle East and the United States became entwined in the politics and ambitions of the revolutionary Iranian state. Interviews with a diverse group of world leaders, diplomats and political operatives combine with startling archival footage to present a cacophony of overtures that fueled one crisis after another. For its eminently watchable and historically invaluable examination... read more

  • Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools Are Failing Black Students
    2009
    Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools Are Failing Black Students

    Independent producer/reporter Nancy Solomon probes the central question of Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools Are Failing Black Students through a detailed examination of a diverse high school in suburban New Jersey. Columbia High School features a nearly equal demographic split between white and minority students, yet it’s the kind of place where a teacher can play “guess the level” just by peering into a given classroom. A room of predominantly white faces means a high level or honors class; a room with mostly black students suggests mediocre to lower level learners. These striking differences prompted Solomon’s interest in investigating... read more

  • Modern Family
    2009
    Modern Family

    In this droll comedy about a multi-generational family, the patriarch, Jay Pritchett, is a middle-aged, white businessman now married to Gloria, a Colombian bombshell half his age. Gloria’s pre-teen son, Manny, from a previous marriage sees himself a Don Juan despite his roly-poly stature. Jay’s son Mitchell, from his first marriage, is an over-wound, gay attorney raising an adopted Vietnamese baby with his show-tune and football-loving partner, Cameron, who both confirms and explodes fey stereotypes. Jay’s other grown child, homemaker Claire, has three kids with her husband, Phil, a real-estate agent with delusions of hipness. Call it contrived if you... read more

  • Noodle Road: Connecting Asia’s Kitchens
    2009
    Noodle Road: Connecting Asia’s Kitchens

    Part travelogue, part history, part epicurean delight, this earthy, tantalizing documentary traces the dispersion of the noodle from its birthplace, some 5,000 years ago, in Shanxi, China, throughout Asia. Beautifully filmed segments show how this dietary staple was adapted in different regions and countries, from Bhutan to Korea, in keeping with the weather, the water and the type of grain that could be raised. We see rural villagers meticulously making noodles at home using rough-hewn presses that could be centuries old, and the hydraulic presses used in bustling, big-city restaurants to manufacture noodles for a multitude. We drop into a... read more

  • npr.org
    2009
    npr.org

    National Public Radio was a website waiting to happen. With signature programs such as All Things Considered and Fresh Air, it has few equals in all the media when it comes to covering a wide, eclectic, even quirky swatch of subjects. www.npr.org is all that and then some, a destination for audio, video and text, one (or two) often complementing another. The site’s breaking-news coverage and archives provide a fascinating, contextualized, easily navigable compendium of information and experience. Where else would one find smart reporting about North Korea’s missiles and South Park’s fart jokes, a thorough analysis of U.S. “cyber... read more

  • Personal Award: Diane Rehm
    2009
    Personal Award: Diane Rehm

    At a time when political talk shows are growing ever more strident and partisan, inflaming passions instead of informing the public, The Diane Rehm Show stands apart as an exemplar of thoughtful, civil discourse about public affairs. For more than 25 years, Diane Rehm has been the producer and host of the Washington, D.C.-based program. In 1995, National Public Radio began distributing it across the country and, a year later, to Europe, Japan and other sites around the world. Her show is wide-ranging, covering politics, the arts, science, cultural trends, literature, and world affairs. By turns warm and compassionate, tough... read more

  • sesamestreet.org
    2009
    sesamestreet.org

    Bright and colorful, with Bird Bird and other animated Muppet characters taking turns cheerfully greeting visitors, www.sesamestreet.org is a beautifully realized extension of the celebrated PBS children’s series into the Internet age. The website brings together a wide array of weekly updated, interactive content for preschoolers. The possibilities are enormous. With or without parental guidance, for this is a secure, safe site, visitors can select from nearly 500 Flash-based games that have been created to help toddlers and preschoolers learn their letters, numbers and more. Or they can watch Sesame Street videos, both classic and new. More than 3,000 are... read more

  • Sichuan Earthquake: One Year On
    2009
    Sichuan Earthquake: One Year On

    Too often there is a tendency in broadcast journalism to cover the breaking story, the event of great significance, only to allow the same story to disappear from public concern or interest. But remembering, following up, is especially crucial when those disasters are man-made, when much of the suffering could have been avoided. For Now-Broadband TV, following up the deadly 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, was a profound commitment. Although the Chinese government denied responsibility for any feature of the earthquake, some citizens in the region argued otherwise, among them parents of children killed in the terrible events of... read more

  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson: Covering Afghanistan
    2009
    Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson: Covering Afghanistan

    Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson’s reports from Afghanistan allow listeners to realize how narrow the parameters of American television coverage can be. Nelson, NPR’s Afghan bureau chief, is multi-lingual and omni-curious. One day she may enlighten listeners about the “creative” ways Kabul residents keep precious electricity flowing to their homes, another day she could be in a remote village trying to sort out whether civilian deaths in a battle were caused by the Taliban or U.S. troops. Her stories are especially strong on issues affecting Afghan women. They range from accounts of adults boldly seeking public office to those dealing with teens... read more

  • The Day That Lehman Died
    2009
    The Day That Lehman Died

    This radio docudrama about the financial giant’s collapse opens with a euphoric, in-house meeting/pep rally at which Lehman Brothers executives boast of their enormous profits and presumed invincibility. The program would almost be funny if we didn’t know Lehman’s collapse came close to wrecking the global banking system. Actually, it’s still funny at times because the ironies are unavoidable. But The Day That Lehman Died is also intensely dramatic and vividly instructional, updating the approach of the classic You Are There radio broadcasts of the late 1940s. Writer Matthew Solon drew his script from hundreds of hours of interviews with... read more

  • The Derrion Albert Beating
    2009
    The Derrion Albert Beating

    In September 2009, honor student Derrion Albert was beaten to death in broad daylight on a city sidewalk only four blocks from his high school. He might well have become another faceless murder statistic had not WFLD-TV obtained a video showing the brutal attack in detail. WFLD got national attention for the horrifying footage, but the station’s far greater feat was its comprehensive follow-up reporting about the murder suspects going through the legal process, the frequency of such violence and possible solutions. The station used its website to complement its on-air coverage and ensure transparency about every step of its... read more

  • The Great Textbook War
    2009
    The Great Textbook War

    This carefully constructed radio documentary recounts events that occurred almost 35 years ago yet seem familiar today. Indeed, as presented by producer Trey Kay, the battles over school textbook content and decisions to adopt or not adopt those books serve to foreshadow the culture wars that still ebb and flow across America. In part, Kay’s account is personal. He was a 12-year-old seventh grader when school board member Alice Moore protested the adoption of certain books under consideration in the Kanawha County, West Virginia, school system. A debate over “multiculturalism” expanded into other areas. Varying religious groups took different sides.... read more

  • The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: An Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    2009
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: An Evening with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    Turmoil engulfed late-night television in 2009, but Craig Ferguson held his ground—and raised the bar. In his fourth year at the helm of The Late Late Show, the Scottish-born comedian perfected his offbeat take on the talk-show genre, proving that one of the silliest hours on television (what with the trademark hand puppets and skeleton robots) could also be one of the smartest. Case in point: Ferguson’s March 4 episode, the centerpiece of which was a lengthy interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. After spending his monologue on a detailed, incisive, often humorous recap of South African history, Ferguson turns the... read more

  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
    2009
    The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

    To viewers puzzled or mystified by the very notion of “Africa,” to those who dwell on images of jungles, safaris, drought and famine, this television series may come as something of a revelation. Based on the novels of Alexander McCall Smith, who created the fictional No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, this production presents an Africa, specifically a Botswana, filled with familiar characters—the loyal friend and suitor, the bossy secretary, the abusive former husband—populating an extraordinarily beautiful landscape and thriving in a mid-size town. At the center of this group—and of events that take place there—is Mma Precious Ramotswe, played with... read more

  • The OxyContin Express
    2009
    The OxyContin Express

    Fifty physicians in the United States write the most prescriptions for Oxycodone. All reside in Florida. Thirty-three of them practice in Broward County, where there are more than 100 “pain clinics.” Seventy-five percent of drug deaths in Florida are related to prescription pills. Eleven people die from overdoses each day. These are only some of the grinding details presented and thoroughly examined in The OxyContin Express, an installment of Current TV’s Vanguard series. These and a host of related factual issues are matched by personal stories of addiction, death and, if things work out, recovery. Correspondent Mariana van Zeller is... read more

  • Thrilla in Manila
    2009
    Thrilla in Manila

    Few would disagree that boxing is a brutal sport. Among those who follow the game, few would deny the key roles played by the two central figures in this documentary, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. In the history of boxing, their three bouts—some would call them battles - are among the most storied. Their third match that took place in 1975 in Manila, Philippines, is cited as “epochal.” Many of the images seen here are familiar: boxers in training camp, boxers battle in the ring, referees break fighters apart, blows land, sweat and blood fly in the air, exhausted men... read more

  • Under Fire: Discrimination and Corruption in the Texas National Guard
    2009
    Under Fire: Discrimination and Corruption in the Texas National Guard

    What began as an investigation of gender discrimination in the Texas National Guard soon expanded into something much larger: a web of bias, malfeasance, and cover-ups that rocked the entire chain of command in this organization. KHOU’s report melded two years of work into a powerful presentation that demonstrated the strength of a committed local news organization. The initiating event, a ceremony in which a female officer is humiliated with sexual innuendo by her male superiors, led to a more thorough exploration of male behavior. Reporting exposed a pattern of gender discrimination in which the careers of dedicated and decorated... read more

  • Up in Smoke
    2009
    Up in Smoke

    California’s contradictory attitudes about marijuana are illustrated to sometimes comic, other times sobering effect in a series of reports presented under the umbrella title Up in Smoke on KCET’s SoCal Connected. In Up in Smoke (Part 1), KCET investigators looked into the proliferation of legal, but minimally regulated, medicinal marijuana dispensaries. They discovered that storefront “clinics” with cute names such as Grasshopper Collective and Buds on Melrose outnumbered Starbucks franchises in Los Angeles, and they traced the explosion to an inadvertent loophole in a city council ordinance intended to limit expansion. Another report, “Cannabis Cowboys,” let viewers shadow an elite... read more

  • Where Giving Life is a Death Sentence
    2009
    Where Giving Life is a Death Sentence

    Danger in Afghanistan also exists far from the battlefields of war. In some parts of the country, health care of the most fundamental sort is almost non-existent. In this report, Lyse Doucet, a veteran among journalists in Afghanistan, travels to Badakshan, an area so remote that the current conflict has not reached it. She goes there because the province has recorded the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world. One clinic in the village of Shahr-e Bozorg provides emergency care for pregnant women—serving a regional population of 53,000. At the clinic, Doucet records first-hand the risks involved in childbirth.... read more