The Peabody 30: Award Winners for 2016
Wes Unruh - 4/26/2017
2016 Peabody Award Winners
- Arrested at School: Criminalizing Classroom Misbehavior (NBC)
A rigorous examination into local school districts relying on police as a means of student discipline reveals an alarming overreach by law enforcement. The result for many students—mostly minority populations—is juvenile citations that become permanent criminal records. Tenacious reporting contributes to the larger conversation about rebuilding trust between police and their communities.
Donald Glover’s enchanting series on the struggles of two young black men trying to make it in Atlanta’s rap scene blends vibrant character study and rich socio-political commentary in delivering a detailed and textured exploration of a Southern city.
Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk present a heartbreaking and timely tale of how social media shaming enacts a secondary and sometimes even more impactful traumatization of teen rape victims.
Co-created by Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K., the result of this searingly funny and beautiful show is an at-times raw examination of the vicissitudes of working motherhood, crackling with feminist verve and energy, that consistently cuts new ground.
In a fine example of the impact investigative journalism can have on communities, reporters uncover layers of mismanagement and corruption at a local nonprofit, including catching the charity’s pastor taking donated goods for his own use. Further probing eventually led to the resignations of top leadership, prompting a separate investigation by the state’s attorney general.
These three packages from CNN’s seasoned war correspondents feature outstanding, on-the-ground reporting from the Middle East. Graphic images of the wounded and the bloodied bring the senselessness of the fighting to the foreground, as do haunting images of young children who’ve only seen and experienced a world of airstrikes, fear, pain, and loss.
This excellent local investigative journalism piece uses diligent reporting and creative visuals to tell the story of how one Indiana watchdog agency failed to do its job. A voluntary remediation program allowed companies to shirk their duties to clean up sites leaking poison into groundwater in residential areas. The investigation exposed decades of lax oversight and served as a catalyst for change within the agency.
Desperate journeys undertaken by refugees risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean and find safe haven in Europe is well-documented. Daphne Matziaraki’s short film differs in its point-of-view and raw imagery of one Greek boat captain thrust into the breach.
Veteran correspondent Martin Smith’s deliberate reporting provides context to America’s ongoing war against Islamist extremists in this essential primer on the origins and timeline of the conflict. “Confronting ISIS” clearly articulates the political complexities behind the rise of the terrorist group, their strategies in recruitment and tactics, and America’s diplomatic missteps and heightened challenges.
An intimate take on the refugee and migrant crisis distinguished by its specificity of the people it follows. James Bluemel eschews the need to render his subjects pathetic, instead showing their humanity and their attempts to keep this humanity in the face of their journey.
A fresh take on the British crime drama that deals boldly and unflinchingly with the darkest human behavior while keeping its heart and even a tart sense of humor. Series creator Sally Wainwright has given us perhaps the greatest female lead on television today in Catherine Cawood, played by Sarah Lancashire in a stunning performance.
As opioid addiction continues to eat away and destroy largely working class communities across the country, CBS reporter Jim Axelrod ventured to West Virginia, investigating shady “pill mills” and doctors interested more in profit than healing to reveal culpability and collusion of both government and industry.
A multimedia, interactive collaboration that weaves cutting-edge climate science, digital mapping tools, engineering simulations, on-the-ground reporting, and compelling photography to tell the story of Houston’s current and future vulnerability to dangerous flooding resulting from global warming.
An entertaining, consummate history of hip-hop music told in a series of interviews with influential MCs, DJs, and moguls who were there at the beginning of the genre’s birth and through its dynamic evolution.
A true original that melds contemporary politics and serialized storytelling with a throwback approach, “Horace and Pete” is a truly independent and groundbreaking demonstration of how quality television is expertly done in the new media environment, all the while building upon decades of artistry and craft.
An examination of a 27-year-old cold case in central Minnesota asks what went wrong, and with immaculate storytelling and journalistic precision asks why it took so long to solve. A tour de force of investigative reporting, “In The Dark” is a podcast as deftly incisive in telling the human tale as it is full and unrelenting in its attention to broader policy implications.
A timely report that examines the motivation and politics surrounding “TRAP” laws, specifically designed to restrict access to abortion. Director Dawn Porter goes behind-the-scenes to follow the people working on a daily basis to keep clinics open under challenging circumstances.
Norman Lear changed the face of television-and the faces. He revolutionized and democratized a traditionally timid, overwhelmingly white-bread medium with a collection of recognizable, risible characters whose racial and gender diversity was as unprecedented as their biases and brash opinions. In Lear’s watershed shows of the ‘70s, no topic was too touchy to tackle-not racial discrimination, not sexism, not homosexuality, not abortion, not even rape. Better than anyone working in television, Lear has created an influential body of work that politicized the personal, personalized the political and showed us ourselves in all our ridiculousness and nobility.
If any organization can claim a foundational place in the flourishing of documentary film over the past generation, it is the Independent Television Service. Conceived by independent filmmakers who saw a paucity of diversity in public media, ITVS was formed by Congress in 1988. Landmark films within the Peabody canon include: “How to Survive a Plague” by David France; Marco Williams and Whitney Dow’s “Two Towns of Jasper”; Leslee Udwin’s “India’s Daughter”; and “The Invisible War” by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. These works remain as relevant today as when they were initially broadcast and have made an impact that is impossible to measure.
“Lemonade” draws from the prolific literary, musical, cinematic, and aesthetic sensibilities of black cultural producers to create a rich tapestry of poetic innovation. The audacity of its reach and fierceness of its vision challenges our cultural imagination, while crafting a stunning and sublime masterpiece about the lives of women of color and the bonds of friendship seldom seen or heard in American popular culture.
More than just a biopic, this story celebrates the deep influence of Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers across music genres—from gospel to soul and rock-and-roll. “MAVIS!” illustrates the history of social movements in America and is a powerful reminder of one woman’s impact on popular culture.
A moving attack on misogynistic troll culture, this short video’s simple message about civility online painfully conveys the damage of vicious tweets. #MoreThanMean is an extremely powerful four minutes that encourages both an end to silence around abuse of women in sports journalism and a reflection on the toxic treatment of women online in general.
A dark and timely examination of sexual abuse at the hands of privileged celebrity, “National Treasure” is an engrossing series that explores the loyalty of family and friends during crisis, the impact of sexual abuse on victims, and the legal system itself. As in real life, there’s no neat ending in this dramatic rendering of one man’s choices and the collateral damage he creates.
Ezra Edelman takes a story we all think we know—the rise and fall of Orenthal James Simpson—and adds successive layers of context and depth until ultimately it becomes a masterful examination of American culture, race, celebrity, masculinity, and criminality.
First-time filmmaker Nanfu Wang takes personal risks to follow the story of Ye Haiyan, aka “Hooligan Sparrow,” and a small group of women’s rights activists protesting the state of sexual assault crises in schools in China.
A modern tale of colonial-style persecution follows four Latina lesbians wrongfully accused of sexual assault in the mid-1990s. Picking up a decade after conviction, the film chronicles their struggles as homosexual women of color in their conservative Texas community and their battle for eventual exoneration.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay deconstructs the criminalization of African-Americans—from racial slavery to convict leasing systems, from Jim Crow terror to mass incarceration—as a means of exercising social control of black populations.
This original, serialized podcast transports listeners to follow Mars Patel—a plucky but brilliant outcast prone to trouble—and his friends as they investigate the mysterious connection between disappearing kids and a billionaire inventor. With vivid characters and fast-paced storytelling, “The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel” recaptures the best of golden age radio while also representing fresh and diverse young voices.
The story of a young woman whose allegations of rape are dismissed as attention-seeking lies by both the police and those closest to her, juxtaposed with the account of how her rapist was eventually captured by another police department. The report is a chilling indictment of doubt, a harrowing picture of the vilification and criminal prosecution the victim suffered, and a heartfelt reminder to trust what victims say.
A rare show blessed with a perfectly cast ensemble, including the comedic genius of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VEEP is a workplace comedy that not only captures the zeitgeist of the current bizarre political moment but transcends its own form to deliver a sobering message, with sharp dialogue, street savvy—and lots of laughs.
A substantial report on the systemic issues of a ravenous sales culture at Wells Fargo that led not only to the creation of two million fake consumer banking accounts, but also the irrevocable blacklisting of employees who attempted to report unethical practices. Interviews with former employees detail the pressures of working in a grindhouse atmosphere to meet daily quotas and the damaging repercussions of whistleblowing, which prompted further U.S. Senate inquiry on bank self-regulation.
Alex Gibney sheds light on the dark world of cyber warfare and its threat to global peace in this suspenseful story mapping how cybersecurity experts discovered the computer worm known as Stuxnet. The documentary is a call-to-action for countries and citizens to address the issue of cyberattacks and to start public discourse on what could happen if, and when, diplomacy fails.
- Tuesday, April 5: Finalists press release.
- Wednesday, April 12: Individual/Institutional winners press release.
- Tuesday, April 18: Documentary winners press release.
- Thursday, April 20: Entertainment winners press release.
- Tuesday, April 25: News, Radio, Web & Public Service winners press release.