The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards

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  • 911: Lost on the Line
    2015
    911: Lost on the Line

    In January 2015, a suburban Atlanta woman died from injuries suffered when her SUV skidded into a pond. She talked to a 911 operator as her vehicle sank. She might have survived if rescuers hadn’t had such difficulty finding her. Puzzled by the delay, WXIA’s Brendan Keefe investigated why one of the nation’s best 911 centers couldn’t pinpoint the accident location. He found that it’s actually a common experience for 911 dispatchers and that the underlying problem has to do with the logistics of cell-phone service. The Federal Communications Commission acknowledged to Keefe that it’s woefully behind in its campaign... read more

  • Beasts of No Nation
    2015
    Beasts of No Nation

    A young boy named Agu is ripped from his village in an unnamed West African country and forced to serve in a guerrilla army, living in constant fear, at once repulsed by the horrible things he is asked to do and fascinated with the new responsibilities he is forced to bear. Idris Elba gives a memorable performance as the Commandant, who mentors and brutalizes the young men whose lives he controls. Adapted from a 2005 novel by the Nigerian-American author Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation was written, shot and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Fukunaga’s vision is unflinching, focusing... read more

  • black-ish
    2015
    black-ish

    black-ish sits comfortably within several American TV traditions: It’s a traditional family comedy with parents who love each other deeply, despite their occasional bickering; it’s a warm, aspirational sitcom about a well-to-do family, the Johnsons, living the suburban dream; and it’s sometimes a workplace comedy full of odd characters, rapid-fire banter and goofy moments. It’s an entertaining and briskly paced comedy, but what sets black-ish apart is its determination to spend time in some uncomfortable places as well. It asks whether an upper-middle-class dad has an obligation to keep his kids connected to the working-class world he came from, and... read more

  • Burning Questions: WTAE Investigates Fire Response Times
    2015
    Burning Questions: WTAE Investigates Fire Response Times

    Important journalism often begins with a simple “Why?” Justin Antoniotti, news director at Pittsburgh’s WTAE, wondered why the station’s news crews often got to Western Pennsylvania house fires about the same time as the firefighters, presumably the first responders. Assigned to investigate, reporter Paul Van Osdol discovered, for starters, that response times were hard to come by, owing in part to antiquated record keeping. Once he got the records - through 911 centers, not the state’s multitude of mostly volunteer fire departments, most of which were uncooperative with Van Osdol - he learned that fire response times varied wildly, from... read more

  • Desperate Journey
    2015
    Desperate Journey

    From June 2015, when the United Nations reported that the number of refugees and displaced persons globally had surpassed 50 million for the first time since World War II, through the end of the year, PBS NewsHour was the most impressive U.S. source of news and analysis about the crisis. Beginning with stunning images of Afghan and Syrian refugees arriving at the Greek island of Lesbos on crowded rubber rafts, NewsHour presented a stream of powerful reports under the banner Desperate Journey. The seasoned news instincts of special correspondent Malcolm Brabant, a former BBC bureau chief, kept him alert... read more

  • Deutschland 83
    2015
    Deutschland 83

    Though the cold war belonged primarily to the U.S. and USSR, its impact was felt most directly in the countries physically split by the passions of the superpowers. Deutschland 83 vividly re-creates a divided Germany of the 1980s. tracking an east German undercover agent recruited by the Stasi to spy on the west German military, the program shows what happens to people on different sides of the border when they share the prospect of nuclear disaster. Combining the story of a young man coming of age in a community not his own with the thrill of Cold War espionage,... read more

  • Do Not Track
    2015
    Do Not Track

    Remember the old saying about “free lunch,” that there’s no such thing? It applies to the internet as well. As Brett Gaylor says on Do Not Track, “if you’re getting great news or funny videos for free, odds are someone is paying for information about you.” Do Not Track is an online documentary series that he conceived and produced about internet privacy and the web economy. With pithy, playful videos and interactive elements, Gaylor seeks to educate us about who may be monitoring us online and how much private information professionals, called “trackers,” can glean and extrapolate from even our... read more

  • European Migrant Crisis/A New Life in Europe/The Year of Migration
    2015
    European Migrant Crisis/A New Life in Europe/The Year of Migration

    The biggest news story in the summer of 2015 was the unprecedented flow of refugees from Syria, Libya and elsewhere, throngs of displaced persons attempting to enter European Union countries by land and by sea. Conveying the scale, the chaos, the political implications and the human tragedies of this rapidly moving crisis was an enormous task to which the BBC’s news operations rose impressively. Reporting across its worldwide range of television and radio platforms, the BBC brought us the key moments from the flashpoint places, the moving individual stories which illuminated the wider issue, and the vital wider context to... read more

  • Going Clear: Scientology and The Prison of Belief
    2015
    Going Clear: Scientology and The Prison of Belief

    Lawrence Wright, on whose book Alex Gibney’s Scientology documentary is based, says on camera that he did not set out to do an exposé, just to understand the cult-like religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard. Like the book, the film demonstrates that in this case understanding is exposé. Numerous former church officials and disenchanted, embarrassed ex-adherents, including screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash), deliver corrosive testimonials about corruption and abusive tactics used to control men and women who have given over their minds and money in the pursuit of Scientology’s promises to make them happier, more successful and “clear” of trauma from... read more

  • How to Dance in Ohio
    2015
    How to Dance in Ohio

    Autism is one of America’s fastest-growing developmental disorders, affecting one in 68 children. How to Dance in Ohio is a window on that world, an intimate portrait of what living with autism is like. Filmmaker Alexandra Shiva found a metaphor and a microcosm in Columbus, Ohio, where Amigo Family Counseling was staging a spring formal for its high-functioning autistic clients. The dance is both reward and life-skills exercise. “For many of them, there’s like a giant wall between them and everybody else,” says Dr. Emilio Amigo. “And the simple task of learning how to say hello, make eye contact, be... read more

  • Independent Lens: India’s Daughter
    2015
    Independent Lens: India’s Daughter

    Essential viewing, though painful at times to watch, India’s Daughter chronicles the internationally infamous gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, in Delhi in 2012, and the protest movement it inspired. Leslee Udwin’s documentary confronts head-on the hideous misogyny ingrained, almost enshrined, in India’s culture. To see Jyoti’s parents, bereft and angry, speaking tearfully about their beloved daughter, her dreams and her violent death, is heart-breaking. To see her rapist-killers not only excuse their crime by invoking ancient notions of women’s subservient place in society but also to justify the attack - “a girl is far... read more

  • Individual Award: David Letterman
    2015
    Individual Award: David Letterman

    David Letterman entered our late-night lives like a ghost of television’s past and its future, reviving the anar-chic, anything-goes antics of pioneers like Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs but also pushing the parameters with a postmodern sense of irony. On Late Night with David Letterman, post-Tonight on NBC, he was a one-man fringe festival, a daffy dadaist who found hilarious new uses for Velcro, watermelons and monkeys. He dismissed the obsequious veneer of showbiz chitchat and made celebrities work for their promotional plugs, expecting them to play at his comedic level or be left twisting in the wind. His... read more

  • Individual Award: Stanley Nelson
    2015
    Individual Award: Stanley Nelson

    Stanley Nelson has directed a trio of Peabody-winning documentaries that have become landmarks in documentary filmmaking and have deepened our understanding of the Civil Rights struggle: The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Summer and Freedom Riders. For this deeply influential and revealing body of work on a wide range of social justice issues, he was the recipient of the 2013 National Humanities Medal, presented to him by President Barack Obama, and a MacArthur “Genius” grant. Eight of his films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and he has won every major award in broadcasting. The focus of his... read more

  • Institutional Award: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
    2015
    Institutional Award: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

    From That Was The Week That Was to Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update and HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, television has long found humor and absurdity in news and current events. But Comedy Central’s The Daily Show – once comedian Jon Stewart became its host/anchor in 1999 – was a different animal, an evolutionary leap. In an era of politicized, echo-chamber news channels and traditional-journalism timidity, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart didn’t simply mine the day’s news for jokes. It spoke truth to power and wither-ing sarcasm to hypocrisy, taking on the news media as well as the news... read more

  • ISIS in Afghanistan
    2015
    ISIS in Afghanistan

    At great personal risk, veteran afghani journalist Najibullah Quraishi, a FRONTLINE correspondent, and his producing team drove deep into ISIS-held territory in eastern Afghanistan in 2014 to document its growing power and appeal. Many of the ISIS fighters defected from the Taliban and Al Qaeda. One ISIS leader says the reason is that the Taliban “are puppets of Pakistan (while) ISIS answers only to God.” But Quraishi also reports that ISIS “pays better,” about $700 a month, which is serious money in such a poor country. In another part of Afghanistan, he inter-views masked teenagers who have pledged them-selves to... read more

  • Katie Morag
    2015
    Katie Morag

    Adapted for television from Mairi Hedderwick’s series of books, Katie Morag ferries viewers to the fictional Scottish isle of Struay to follow the adventures of the delightful red-haired Katie Morag McColl and her fellow islanders. Cherry Campbell shines as Katie, full of energy, good will, courage, pluck, humor, curiosity and wisdom, while Annie Louise Ross becomes television’s best grandmother to don overalls and a pair of Wellington boots. A small cast of additional characters helps further the sense of a somewhat magical land that balances quite beautifully a sense of realism with the comfort of a world that exists for... read more

  • Listen to Me Marlon
    2015
    Listen to Me Marlon

    The late actor Marlon Brando not only left a legacy of iconic film performances, from Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront to Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, but also hundreds of self-recorded audiotapes - personal musings on everything from his Nebraska childhood to his acting technique to his affinity for underdog causes - and a hologram-like rendering of his head, a computer-generated bust. The latter wasn’t some kooky quirk but part of a 1980s experiment in digital preservation of actors. The grand brainstorm of Stevan Riley, director of Listen to Me Marlon, was to animate the hologram, sync the... read more

  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones
    2015
    Marvel’s Jessica Jones

    In 2015, superheroes were everywhere in American media - with both DC and Marvel extending their franchises through epic feature films and long-form tv series. Many of these projects enjoyed commercial success but not critical acclaim, which is one of many reasons why Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a story that matters. Show-runner Melissa Rosenberg took a subplot from the original comics series about Kilgrave, a character who uses his mental abilities to bend others to his will, and turns it into a season-long exploration of how a powerful woman can reclaim her life and stand up against her abuser. David... read more

  • Master of None
    2015
    Master of None

    It could have been just another TV comedy about a 30-something guy and his buddies in Manhattan. But actor-comedian Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) instead turned his Netflix series Master of None into a treatise on life as a millennial-age child of immigrants in New York, disguising its incisive vision with snappy patter and pop-culture savvy. Ansari cast himself as Dev Shah, who’s 30, still figuring out what to do with his life, and presently pursuing an acting career. One minute, the show pokes fun at Americanized kids oblivious to the struggles their parents endured to reach the United States,... read more

  • Meet the Composer
    2015
    Meet the Composer

    The Meet the Composer podcasts celebrate, annotate and explore the music of contemporary composers infrequently heard even on public radio’s classical outlets, which tend to be devoutly traditional. Host Nadia Sirota, herself an acclaimed violinist, in each program takes listeners into the mind and process of someone who is creating complicated, challenging music, some of it fiercely dissonant, some of it breathtakingly beautiful. Sirota gleans not only insights about her guests’ music but also about their personal history, beliefs and influences. Ingram Marshall, billed as “a Connecticut hippie in California,” alludes to Indonesian gamelan music and Early American sacred harp... read more

  • MR. ROBOT
    2015
    MR. ROBOT

    Even now, with high-quality dramatic series superabundant, everyday real-world problems mostly go untouched thematically. MR. ROBOT is a huge exception. It’s ready to rumble with most every hot-button issue we have going: surveillance, privacy, computer hacking, corporate control and greed, drug abuse, mental illness, class resentment, wealth disparity, debt - yes, debt, both student and government. All this, plus the more familiar elements of murder, mayhem and sex. Rami Malek is mesmerizing as Elliot, a hyper-idealistic, socially inept cyber-security whiz whose world-saving inclinations get him enmeshed in a cyber-terrorism conspiracy led by a mysterious hacker (Christian Slater) who wears a... read more

  • Night Will Fall
    2015
    Night Will Fall

    When images of the Nazi concentration camps flooded collective consciousness in 1945, few expected that other images were being prevented from public display. Night Will Fall tells the fascinating story of that documentation, largely unseen until now. drawn from a 1945 documentary by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein that was shelved for political reasons and resuscitated nearly 70 years later by the Imperial War Museum, Night Will Fall deftly weaves two stories into one documentary tale - one about the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, the other about the changing policies of postwar reconstruction that pulled atrocity images into... read more

  • POV: Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)
    2015
    POV: Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)

    Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) illuminates the plight of and the debate over the more than 11 million undocumented people in America today by focusing intently on one: 24-year-old Angy Rivera. She’s lived in this country since her mother, fleeing violence and hopeless poverty in Colombia, brought her at the age of four to New York. Unlike her siblings who were born here, Angy is not a citizen, and she has been coached since she first learned to talk to remain silent, to tell no one, lest she be found out, arrested and deported. But Angy, as... read more

  • Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields
    2015
    Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields

    Once again expanding the boundaries of sports reporting, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel sent a news team to Africa to report on the decimation of the continent’s elephant population. The sport connection is trophy hunting. Big-game hunters and groups like the NRA are suing the U.S. government to repeal its ban on Americans bringing elephant trophies home, thus stifling interest in an activity that they contend brings African countries much-needed money for preservation efforts. The graphic hunting footage Real Sports obtained is sickening. Yet one American interviewed in his overstuffed trophy room by correspondent David Scott waxes ecstatic about the... read more

  • Secret Mustard Gas Experiments
    2015
    Secret Mustard Gas Experiments

    It’s not news that the United States military tested mustard gas on American troops during World War II. Information about the secret experiments was declassified in the 1990s. What wasn’t understood until NPR’s investigation team dug deeper and tracked down survivors is that in some variations, soldiers were segregated by race to look for possible advantages that could be exploited on the battlefield. African-Americans were exposed because it was theorized their darker skin might prove more resistant and frontline-worthy if the Axis powers resorted to mustard gas. Japanese-American soldiers were commandeered as proxies for the Pacific Theater enemy. It’s shocking... read more

  • The Case for School Desegregation Today
    2015
    The Case for School Desegregation Today

    This American Life tapped reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, now at the New York Times, to help tell three radio stories that make an important point: School desegregation, however unpopular politically, can significantly cut the gap in achievement between white students and children of color. but as each of the three episodes details the pain and struggle such efforts bring, listeners learn why communities often avoid the practice. one report reveals how an unintended legal loophole enabled black students from a school district in Ferguson, Missouri, to transfer to white schools, with improved test scores the result. the second report considers what... read more

  • The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
    2015
    The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

    Director Andrew Jarecki’s stylish, detailed examination of suspicions that new york real-estate scion Robert Durst was connected to three unsolved deaths would have been notable if all he had done was get durst to talk on camera for the first time. But this HBO docu-series ultimately revealed footage in which Durst seemed to admit to murder during an unguarded moment in a bath-room, airing a day after police arrested him on first-degree murder charges. By offering a possible solution straight from the mouth of the suspect himself, uncovered after 20 hours of interviews conducted over years, the series makes you... read more

  • The Laquan McDonald Investigation
    2015
    The Laquan McDonald Investigation

    Months before the wider world learned the name of Laquan Mcdonald, reporter Carol Marin and her team at WMAQ-TV in Chicago were looking into the death of the African-American 17-year-old who had been killed by Chicago police. Their investigation, which began after the city paid Mcdonald’s family a $5 million settlement, uncovered allegations that police didn’t interview witnesses properly, that police investigators may have erased crucial evidence from a camera system at a nearby fast-food restaurant, and that police reports may have been contradicted by video of the event from squad cars. By the time a judge ordered release... read more

  • The Leftovers
    2015
    The Leftovers

    Set several years after the unexplained disappearance of 2 percent of the world’s population, The Leftovers powerfully mines complex emotional states that are rarely so central to television. A show about loss, recovery and how we live with raw pain, and about faith and the loss of belief, it boldly shies away from easy answers or resolutions. If television often excels by offering us visions of security and comfort, The Leftovers walks a different path into a world of insecurity, indeterminacy and absence, regularly asking what we know about life and exploring how we cope with the unknown. Creators Damon... read more

  • Transparent
    2015
    Transparent

    Everyone in the Pfefferman family is restless. Maura is still coming to terms with her new life as a woman, and her ex-wife, Shelley, is grieving the loss of her second husband while still nurturing a complex connection to Maura, with whom Shelley had three kids when they were married (and when Maura went by the name Mort). Their children are adults now - at least they try to conduct themselves like grown-ups. But having come of age in a family full of secrets and hidden pain, the three Pfefferman kids often find it hard to be truthful with themselves... read more

  • UnREAL
    2015
    UnREAL

    Reality television is known as much for formulaic convention as for an explosion of current shows, but UnREAL demonstrates how much more can be said about the genre. Focusing on a fictitious Bachelor-like dating show, UnREAL cleverly unpacks what makes reality programs tick, how they get put in motion and who helps them rise or fall. Crafted around the story of two women producers who are at each other’s throats as much as they are on each other’s team, UnREAL builds an unorthodox platform for delivering biting social commentary. Combining satire, dramedy and soap opera, the program critiques the placement... read more

  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
    2015
    What Happened, Miss Simone?

    What Happened, Miss Simone? will put a spell on you. Opening with a tensely dramatic video clip from a 1976 concert at which Nina Simone seems to be on the verge of an onstage breakdown, the documentary is a mesmerizing examination of the brilliant, troubled life and career of a classically trained pianist who became a revered, influential jazz-pop chanteuse and a black power icon. Director Liz Garbus adroitly convokes the story of Simone - born Eunice Waymon to a South Carolina minister and her handyman husband - using vintage photographs, archival on-camera interviews and rare concert footage. The narration,... read more

  • Wolf Hall
    2015
    Wolf Hall

    The greatness of Wolf Hall lies in the way it re-invents a familiar genre, the historical costume drama, and moves it to an entirely new level. Hilary Mantel’s prizewinning novels are here distilled by the skill of adapter Peter Straughan into a series of key scenes over six hours, then given the feel of a political thriller by the direction of Peter Kosminsky. Fantastic attention to detail in costume and production design evoke the 16th-century setting, while the beautiful visual composition and Debbie Wiseman’s subtle score complete the mood. And then there are the acting performances, perfect down to the... read more