Winner 2018

Caliphate

The New York Times

Caliphate was awarded a Peabody in 2018. Following an investigation by the New York Times in 2020 into the veracity of the podcast, the Times concluded that crucial portions of the podcast were untrue, and thus no longer stood behind the reporting. The Times returned the Peabody Award that same year.

When the tanks rolled out of towns and cities liberated from ISIS control, Rukmini Callimachi moved in, searching for diaries, receipts, computer files, anything that would help her answer the key question of this gripping podcast from The New York Times: Why did people join ISIS? Callimachi and audio producer Andy Mills present their answers in absorbing style, wedding storytelling, reports from Iraq, and interviews with a wide range of subjects – from Abu Huzayfah to a Yazidi girl tortured by ISIS troops – to produce a wonderful example of what longform audio reporting can and should sound like. They uncover, as Hannah Arendt dubbed it, “the banality of evil,” the everydayness, motivations, and even the humanity of those who dedicated their lives to the Islamic State’s violent ends, with a depiction that is as revealing as it is uncompromising. Caliphate is a tale of zealotry in theology and politics, and of the enduring trauma that follows in its wake, told from as close as Callimachi could get inside of that zealotry. For guiding us through the complex maze of customs and recruitment of a terror network, Caliphate earns a Peabody Award.

PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS

Producer: Andy Mills. Reporters: Rukmini Callimachi, Andy Mills. Managing Producer: Larissa Anderson. Editors: Wendy Dorr, Larissa Anderson. Associate Producer: Asthaa Chaturvedi. Technical Director: Brad Fisher. Sound/Music: William Brittelle, Andy Mills, Nate Hendricks, Cliff Martinez, Brad Fisher, Taku Sugimoto and David Wingo.