Winner 2010

Coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill


CNN’s coverage of this massive man-made disaster demonstrated the full potential of a highly developed news organization. Events such as the Deepwater Horizon failure can rarely be precisely defined, encapsulated or analyzed as singular occurrences. Rather, they expand, ripple into the lives of individuals and communities and extend through layers of science, economics, sociology and culture. Explanations require organizations capable of matching a bewildering array of developing consequences. CNN was such an organization on this occasion. Crews were the first to charter boats near the Deepwater rig, the first to document spreading oil and dispersants with submersible technology. CNN broadcast BP’s own video of the gushing oil. Exclusive interviews gave voice to those involved, from BP executives to survivors of the explosion. Larry King anchored a two-hour telethon in support of individuals and communities. CNN viewers created more than 2,000 video suggestions for solutions. These broadcasts, capturing events as they unfolded, were matched by analysis and commentary in the days and weeks following. CNN crews and reporters documented, presented and explained the scale of the disaster with images as intimate as a hand dripping with oil, as massive as a giant rig belching smoke and flame. For providing precise detail and complete context related to a tragic disaster, CNN’s Coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill receives a Peabody Award.


The Staff of CNN.