The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards

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  • 60 Words
    2014
    60 Words

    60 Words tells the fascinating story of how one 60-word sentence, pieced together in the fraught aftermath of 9/11, became the distinguishing legal marker between war and peace in the United States. Tracing the evolution of the “AUMF” – or “the authorization to use military force” – the program combines recreations, analysis and interviews to chronicle the phrase’s inception, the frenzied discussions over its viability, the pressured congressional voting that ushered it into existence, and its contemporary implications. Together it weaves a riveting patchwork of legal intrigue, political strategizing, moral handwringing and linguistic nuance that has since been used to... read more

  • Adventure Time
    2014
    Adventure Time

    Adventure Time has perhaps the most oddly tiered audience in all of television: pre-adolescents, hormonal teens and self-aware adults, each demographic watching for different reasons – and some of the same. That’s because this series about the experiences of a teen-aged boy and his canine wingman in a post-apocalyptic land called Ooo, is animated alchemy, an impossible mash-up of comedy, horror, fairy tale and coming-of-age fable. The boy, Finn, is our proxy in this strange, pastel world, where the characters have rubbery, joint-less limbs (think Felix the Cat) and range from an Ice King to assorted mutant insects. Creator Pendleton... read more

  • American Experience: Freedom Summer
    2014
    American Experience: Freedom Summer

    In the sweltering summer of 1964, more than 700 volunteers from colleges all over America traveled to the Deep South to join organizers and black Mississippi activists in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation’s most segregated states. Together they canvassed for voter registration, created “Freedom Schools” and established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, its goal to displace the segregationist state Democratic Party at the upcoming national convention in Atlantic City. Freedom Summer combines archival film and photos, captivating, creative animation, and fresh interviews to recall that epochal, dangerous campaign, which was... read more

  • Betrayed by Silence
    2014
    Betrayed by Silence

    Starting its investigation in the Twin Cities and following the leads throughout the country, Minnesota Public Radio unveiled hypocrisy and cruelty by leaders in the Roman Catholic Church to rival the most ruthless corporation. Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis built a career as the public face of a repentant, healing Church coming to terms with its priests’ crimes of sexual abuse. He was called to Boston to lead the response to the scandal in 2002 and helped to write and promote the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” All the while... read more

  • Black Mirror
    2014
    Black Mirror

    Black “mirrors” are all around us – in our pockets, on our walls, on our desks. They represent the headlong advance of digital technologies. The genius of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series Black Mirror is to look for just a brief moment into the future and to examine the potential implications of those technologies for our lives and our society. And those implications are terrifying – for personal relationships (in the stories “The Entire History of You” and “Be Right Back”); for politics (“The National Anthem,” “The Waldo Moment”); for public control (“Fifteen Million Merits,” “White Bear”); and for all the... read more

  • Children on the Frontline
    2014
    Children on the Frontline

    In the battered, bombed out Syrian city of Aleppo, thousands of families have fled, persuaded that nothing in a refugee camp could be as terrible as wondering if a rocket will hit your house or a sniper will take you out as you hang laundry to dry. Photojournalist/director Marcel Mettelsiefen focuses on one anti-regime family who have stayed in their home and especially on the children – young sisters Helen, Farah and Sara, their brother Mohammad, and their friend Aboude. Their daily lives are an absurd, heartbreaking co-mingling of the mundane and the terrifying. Hala, the mother, recalls giving the... read more

  • Chris Christie, White House Ambitions and the Abuse of Power
    2014
    Chris Christie, White House Ambitions and the Abuse of Power

    WNYC led the national media in uncovering a series of scandals casting Chris Christie’s presidential ambitions into doubt. In addition to following the New York-New Jersey “Bridgegate” scandal as it was breaking and uncovering increasingly damning details, WNYC’s newsroom was able to outline a larger pattern of abuse and cronyism. Along with the New Jersey governor’s administration shutting down the George Washington Bridge, the reporters began looking at how Christie’s camp was using Port Authority-related projects for the financial benefit of his administration and its allies. Despite Christie famously positioning himself above partisanship in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, WNYC... read more

  • CNN Investigative Reports: Crisis at the VA
    2014
    CNN Investigative Reports: Crisis at the VA

    In January 2014, CNN broke a stunning story that an investigative team led by Drew Griffin had been researching for six months: At least 19 military veterans had died because of appointment delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals, and thousands more were experiencing similar, unconscionable waits for tests and treatment. One veteran CNN interviewed on camera had developed stage-four cancer during his year-long wait for a colonoscopy. Public outrage and Congressional hearings ensued even as CNN continued to follow and expand the story, pursuing it with what one veterans’ organization called “unrivaled dedication and tenacity.” Over the course of the year,... read more

  • CNN’s Coverage of Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls
    2014
    CNN’s Coverage of Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls

    In the aftermath of the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, CNN dispatching reporting teams to Chibok, Nigeria, capturing a portrait of a region left unaided by its government in the wake of a horrific abduction. By day we see a region that Boko Haram has terrorized for years attempting to get on with life. By night, members of the community walk the streets with machetes and homemade bows and arrows to protect their families. CNN’s Isha Sesay searched for accountability for this unprotected region, aggressively questioning Nigerian officials whose claims that they had responded to... read more

  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
    2014
    COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey

    The updated version of COSMOS had very big shoes to fill, given the historic goodwill toward Carl Sagan’s original production, a 1980 Peabody winner which was deeply loved by a generation of armchair astronomers and inspired many future scientists. COSMOS 2.0 managed to pull off an impressive hat trick: Thanks to advances in special-effects technology, it looks gorgeous. Thanks to the presence of its host, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson (himself a protégé of Sagan), the tour of intergalactic wonderlands and subatomic particles is energetic and fascinating. Perhaps most important, thanks to its rigorous, unapologetic belief in the scientific method, the... read more

  • Doc McStuffins
    2014
    Doc McStuffins

    When a toy is “injured,” young Doc McStuffins and an assortment of toy helpers open her clinic to diagnose and heal the ailing plaything. A charming show for preschoolers, created by Chris Nee, Doc McStuffins is as fun as it is rich with social messaging. While teaching children not to be scared of a trip to the doctor and encouraging them not to hide inner pains, but instead to talk things through with others, the series refreshingly centers its action on a young African-American girl who is a skilled doctor and engineer. What is more, her expertise at fixing toys... read more

  • Ebola
    2014
    Ebola

    Overstating the profound public service of the BBC World Service’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is practically impossible. The region is home to almost a quarter of its global audience – 10 million listeners in English alone. The World Service took that into account, along with its knowledge of how people use their mobile phones, when it devised a plan to use not just radio but apps, Twitter, Facebook, every iteration of modern media at its disposal, to deliver not only its traditional news and documentaries but basic, useful information aimed at limiting the spread of the... read more

  • Entre el Abandono y el Rechazo (Between Abandonment and Rejection)
    2014
    Entre el Abandono y el Rechazo (Between Abandonment and Rejection)

    An investigative report that also qualifies as public service on this side of the U.S.-Mexican border, Entre el Abandono y el Rechazo (Between Abandonment and Rejection) provides multi-perspective context that is often missing in mainstream, English-language media reports about the thousands of Central American children seeking asylum in the U.S. Univision reporter María Elena Salinas calls the exodus an “act of desperation” and supports her explanation with video and interviews she and her team captured in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, three of the most violent in countries in the world now thanks to gangs and drug cartels. We hear... read more

  • Fargo
    2014
    Fargo

    Just as its mischievous and gleefully malevolent Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) carefully manipulates those around him to set an unstoppable sequence of mayhem into motion, Fargo takes scenes, themes, motivations, settings and actions from the Coen Brothers movie and radically rearranges them with deft skill to fashion a narrative bristling with dark comedy that, as it happens, feels both fated and yet wholly original. Allison Tolman’s Molly Solverson and Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard then revolve around Malvo as poles of good and bad, patient resolve and flailing desperation, on a board of play centered in Bemidji, Minnesota. Filmed beautifully,... read more

  • FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets
    2014
    FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets

    In a landscape where state secrecy battles digital openness, United States of Secrets, a FRONTLINE documentary, charts a devastating expose of the National Security Agency and a troubling portrayal of official American efforts to track the phone and internet relays of private citizens. Packing an avalanche of comprehensive detail into a two-part documentary, the program painstakingly pieces together the steps taken to shape the last two decades of U.S. government surveillance. The resulting context is chilling: an intricate record of domestic spying since 9/11, punitive measures against NSA employees who refused to toe the line, and strategic attempts to ensure... read more

  • Human Harvest: China’s Illegal Organ Trade
    2014
    Human Harvest: China’s Illegal Organ Trade

    Like a mystery novel with a devastating denouement, Leon Lee’s documentary starts with numbers that don’t add up and divines an unthinkable explanation. China had no organ-donation system until 2010, yet it’s now the one place in the world where a person can get a heart and lung transplant in less than a week. People flock there by the thousands, checkbooks in hand, to get new kidneys, lungs and livers. China insists executed prisoners are the source, but David Matas, David Kilgour and other human rights activists tell Lee that the country would have to be executing more than 10... read more

  • Independent Lens: Brakeless
    2014
    Independent Lens: Brakeless

    Rarely do we see a documentary running under an hour which takes a complex subject and examines it from every conceivable angle, yet does full justice to all its concerns and gives an almost total understanding of all the issues. Such a work is Kyoko Miyake’s Brakeless. It’s a film about the perils of speed that seems unhurried. It covers all the bases, and then some. Examining the reasons behind the 2005 crash of a West Japan Railways commuter train, which resulted in 107 deaths, the film places the event firmly into its historical, economic and socio-cultural context, while also... read more

  • Individual Award: Sir David Attenborough
    2014
    Individual Award: Sir David Attenborough

    On the face of it, a personal award to an 89-year-old with a broadcasting career of more than 60 years behind him would seem valedictory, but one of the many remarkable things about David Attenborough is the energy with which he is still producing cutting-edge work in the field he has dominated for the duration of that career: the television natural history program. For a time, in the 1960s and early 1970s, it seemed as though he had made the logical career progression from innovative program-maker to successful broadcasting executive. As controller of BBC2 and director of BBC Television Programmes,... read more

  • Inside Amy Schumer
    2014
    Inside Amy Schumer

    Showcasing the voluminous comic talents and range of Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer is a sketch show with all sorts of purpose. The fleet-footed Schumer will satirically embody vacuous white privilege in one sketch before pivoting to comically interrogate rape culture, body image norms or sanctimonious savior narratives in the next – and then engage in crisp banter about sexual failures and disappointments in person-on-the-street interviews. She regularly pushes past limits of comfort to mine rarely-explored and taboo territories. Her sketches can crackle with satiric energy, yet she can find just as much humor in a joke about poop, the... read more

  • Institutional Award: Afropop Worldwide
    2014
    Institutional Award: Afropop Worldwide

    On the radio continuously since 1988, Afropop Worldwide revels in and reveals music that Africa has inspired in its diverse homelands and around the globe. It’s part dance party, part cultural anthropology seminar; it’s both evidence of and a lively participant in the world’s ongoing musical dialogue. Weekly broadcasts not only tantalize listeners with the sounds of Algeria and Madagascar, Kenya and Zimbabwe, Cuba and the USA, but also contextualize the music, grounding it in history, religion, politics, everyday life and commerce. Among the most fascinating broadcasts of the past year was “The Money Show,” a collection of stories exploring... read more

  • ISIS - Continuing Coverage
    2014
    ISIS - Continuing Coverage

    NBC News and MSNBC’s coverage of ISIS gave us a comprehensive look at the 2014 terrorist group during its seemingly unstoppable rise in the Middle East. Richard Engel and company traced its evolution from an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq into a self-declared Islamic State, demonstrating that ISIS’s emergence should not have been a surprise. Engel holds the U.S. military accountable, showing interviews in 2010 with Gen. Michael Barbero, one of the military leaders responsible for training the Iraqi Army, who claims that the nation was ready to defend itself. Four years later, he returns to Barbero who admitted the U.S.... read more

  • Jane the Virgin
    2014
    Jane the Virgin

    The premise is certainly unusual: A young woman who has never had sex gets pregnant via artificial insemination, and the father happens to be an old flame who owns the Miami hotel where she works. But viewers who watch Jane the Virgin expecting only finely wrought melodrama and delightfully soapy twists will get far more than they bargained for. The starting story supplied only the first few waves of plot complication. Things only got more complicated as each trimester passed. Jane is a sensitive and thoughtful family drama, one that touches on such subjects as religion, class and immigration reform... read more

  • Last Chance High
    2014
    Last Chance High

    Chicago’s Moses Montefiore Academy - “Last Chance High” - serves students with severe emotional disorders, who have been expelled (frequently more than once) from the city’s other public schools. Last Chance High‘s first episode can be so overwhelming that we want to run for the doors, as the cameras show us - without much explanation - the disruptive behavior and disrespect for their teachers these students display on a daily basis. The school’s faculty and administrators spend so much time trying to maintain order that it is hard to imagine much teaching goes on. Across subsequent episodes, producers Brent and... read more

  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
    2014
    Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

    Good satire helps citizens cope. It announces what’s wrong and assures us that others have noticed, too. It encourages us to come together – first to ridicule politics’ failings, then hopefully to overcome them – and it’s deeply funny while doing so. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is great satire, doing all this and more. Oliver uses his status as someone with one foot outside the U.S., one foot inside, to lodge an outsider’s uncompromising critique with the care of someone who needs to live here. And freed from commercial breaks, he capitalizes on the ability to maintain focus... read more

  • Latino USA: Gangs, Murder, and Migration in Honduras
    2014
    Latino USA: Gangs, Murder, and Migration in Honduras

    This extensive report takes us to the streets of Honduras where working-class life as a bus or taxi driver includes daily extortion, threats to join gangs are part of the adolescent male experience, and virtually every citizen knows somebody who has been murdered. Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world. Latino USA shows that the economic disparity at the root of this violence is deeply entrenched, dating back to the fruit companies carving out the future of the country and the U.S. government backing a ruling class to prevent the spread of communism. The listener follows reporter/producer Marlon... read more

  • Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown
    2014
    Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown

    Like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” or “Cold Sweat,” Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown doesn’t so much start as explode, immediately establishing a rhythmic momentum that doesn’t waver, doesn’t quit. It’s a documentary you could almost dance to, so sure and steady is its pulse. But that’s only one facet of its achievement. Director Alex Gibney and his editors immerse the viewer in the R&B/funk superstar’s life and times and in the cultures from which he distilled his art, showing how he learned not only from Louis Jordan and Little Richard but from Duke Ellington and the... read more

  • POV: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
    2014
    POV: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

    This compelling documentary traces the development of an Asian-American philosopher, activist and writer, a charismatic though largely unknown woman whom Angela Davis once said “made more contributions to the black struggle than most black people have.” Grace Lee Boggs’ personal evolution began during the unstable, often violent Civil Rights era. Archival footage shows a fiery, younger Boggs who aggressively challenges her compatriots’ ideas, sometimes bringing them to tears. Boggs’ commitment to the American worker is illustrated by her love affair with the city of Detroit, the setting of much of the film. The filmmaker, the similarly named Grace Lee, does... read more

  • Rectify
    2014
    Rectify

    Released because of new DNA evidence but still not cleared of the rape and murder that put him to prison for 19 years, Daniel Holden moves quietly back into the community where he was raised. He finds himself a stranger — to his sister who worked so tirelessly to see him released; to his mother, who wants to both consume him and give him the privacy and independence he lost; to his step-brother, resentful of the penalty Daniel’s release imposes on his business; and to the younger brother who never knew him except through listening to mix tapes he discovered... read more

  • Reporting From The Frontlines: The Ebola Outbreak
    2014
    Reporting From The Frontlines: The Ebola Outbreak

    For sheer scope and variety, NPR’s 2014 coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the virus’ alarming spread was unmatched. NPR first sent a reporter into Guinea in early April, months before even world health officials appreciated the magnitude of the crisis. As the epidemic widened, NPR mobilized unprecedented resources, positioning more than three dozen reporters from its own ranks and its member stations in West Africa, Dallas, New York, Washington, D.C., and Europe. Often at considerable risk, for the territories were sometimes hostile and the deadly disease was then poorly understood, they filed more than 200 reports,... read more

  • Serial
    2014
    Serial

    Since 2000, when he was still a teenager, Adnan Syed has been serving a life sentence in a Maryland prison for the murder of Hae Min Lee. In Serial, Sarah Koenig and producers Julie Snyder, Dana Chivvis and Emily Condon explore whether the evidence that led to Syed’s conviction was sufficient, thereby offering a soulful examination of reasonable doubt in homicide trials. A productive experiment in long-form, non-fiction audio storytelling, the podcast hooked millions along the way, becoming one of 2014’s most talked-about and most eagerly-followed stories. As listeners were invited to parse the evidence and examine a murder case... read more

  • Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa
    2014
    Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa

    Albie Sachs spent more than 60 years of his life within the anti-apartheid movement, starting as a young college student who got himself arrested as a white man sitting on a bench reserved for “non-whites.” Ultimately, he would help to write the South African Constitution and serve on its first Constitutional Court. Through the years, he was arrested, held in solitary confinement, tortured, and exiled; he lost an arm in a 1988 car bombing by South African security forces. Despite it all, he refused to give over to his inner demons and instead helped lead his nation towards forgiveness and... read more

  • State of the Re:Union
    2014
    State of the Re:Union

    State of the Re:Union travels the country to tell stories of, by and for many of the individuals and communities that are regularly forgotten by mainstream media. Whether exploring with honesty and compassion the family lives of transgender people, the everyday existence of Americans living in Alaska’s interior, Hawaiian multiculturalism, or Salt Lake City’s burgeoning Polynesian, gay, and migrant populations, State of the Re:Union adds a wealth of new voices to radio, offering listeners a lot to listen to and ponder. Where else might you hear debates within the African American community on the value – or point – of... read more

  • The Americans
    2014
    The Americans

    Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings are small-business owners, travel agents, raising two all-American children, 14-year-old Paige and 11-year-old Henry, in a pleasant, tree-lined suburb of Washington, D.C. Neither the kids nor the FBI agent who lives across the street realizes that the Jennings are also deeply embedded KGB agents whose real enterprise is spying on President Ronald Reagan’s government. Their covert missions can be as tense and nail-biting as anything ever imagined by Ian Fleming or John LeCarre, but what makes this parallax period piece more than an addictive cliffhanger – what in fact intensifies every mission – is how creator... read more

  • The Cost of Troubled Minds
    2014
    The Cost of Troubled Minds

    In KVUE’s exemplary expose of Texas’ critically inadequate care for its mentally ill, reporter Andy Pierrotti bolsters statistical documentation with specific case studies to powerful effect. His larger finding is that the state’s budget cuts, outdated facilities and a shortage of mental health care professionals ultimately cost taxpayers millions of dollars. What makes the charge resonate and infuriate is examples such as that of a schizophrenic woman who, with no hospital or program to go into, has in recent years spent 1,344 days in jail and gone to an ER 326 times at a cost of more than $850,000. ... read more

  • The Honorable Woman
    2014
    The Honorable Woman

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been with us for generations and will likely continue to be so, and The Honorable Woman impressively conveyed that sense of historic impasse and the weight of individual commitment on both sides. Yet it also managed to feel utterly immediate, its premiere coinciding with the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza and continuing revelations about the pervasive extent of U.S. and British intelligence surveillance. And it was so much more: a riveting thriller with a dense and intricate storyline, visually stylish and with stunning set-pieces; an intimate portrait of a central character trying to reconcile her public... read more

  • The Islamic State
    2014
    The Islamic State

    Candid, on-camera interviews are the heart of this revealing, unsettling report by Medyan Dairieh, a filmmaker and VICE News journalist who managed to embed himself among ISIS fighters for three weeks in Iraq and Syria. He came away with video of true believers boasting of the infidels they’ve killed – or hope to – and declaring that they seldom have time for their families because they now have a “higher purpose.” Dairieh is seen zipping around Raqqa with a chatty, armed officer of Hisbah, a sort of morality cop, who stops to lecture street merchants and passersby about the evils... read more

  • The Knick
    2014
    The Knick

    At times, The Knick may look like a horror show; its explicit, detailed depiction of operations in a fictional, 1900-era New York City hospital doesn’t downplay the bloody, gritty reality of pioneering surgical techniques at the turn of the century. But it is the modern style and substance of The Knick that have made an impact, with innovative camera work, precise recreations of the New York of a century ago and a score bursting with today’s musical sounds, all filtered through the creative vision of director/executive producer Steven Soderbergh. The story itself is bold: Clive Owen’s driven, drug-dependent star surgeon... read more

  • The Newburgh Sting
    2014
    The Newburgh Sting

    When federal entrapment ends up imprisoning four petty criminals for 25 years on charges of terrorism, eyes widen with cries of a miscarriage of justice. The Newburgh Sting offers a compelling and wrenching portrait of how the FBI fabricated a case of domestic terrorism against four poor New York State men, scripting the moves that would end up implicating them. Using raw audio and video footage shot by the FBI during a year of surveillance and extensive interviews, the documentary, artfully crafted and musically scored with aplomb, gut-punches the viewer at every turn. It unfolds like a fictional Hollywood movie,... read more

  • Under the Radar
    2014
    Under the Radar

    Outrageous, mind-boggling and true, this series of reports by Scripps’ national investigative team found that the U.S. Department of Defense is exempt from a federal law that requires civilian sex offenders register while still in confinement and that the resulting loophole allows sex offenders in the military – including convicted rapists and child molesters – to relocate unregistered once they get out of the brig. Scripps reporter Mark Greenblatt’s review of more than 1,300 military cases turned up more than 240 “under the radar” sex offenders whose past crimes, in some cases, didn’t show up even when they were arrested... read more

  • Virunga
    2014
    Virunga

    Located in the lush forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga National Park is home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas and to courageous men and women who are dedicated to protecting them against a multitude of dangers—poachers, armed militia, and a British oil company determined to exploit the park’s resources. Filmmaker Orlando Von Einsiedel contrasts the nobility of a multinational group of park rangers with the corruption (revealed through hidden camera footage) of oil company executives. Brutal armed conflicts often intrude into this protected space, exacerbating the threat to the gorillas. The achingly beautiful nature photography and... read more