Finn and the Bell
Finn and the Bell assembles a quiet portrait of a small Vermont community grappling with a young man’s suicide, and the beauty of its method lies in how the piece universalizes the feeling of a wake. Using a drifting, non-narrated format that emphasizes the voices of those left behind, host Erica Heilman, working under the banner of the Rumble Strip podcast series, gently guides the emotion through the overwhelming pang of loss toward celebration of a life. It’s subtle, thoughtful, and gorgeous. As an independent producer who’s spent years using her microphone to capture different facets of her home state, Heilman’s important work serves as a reminder of what we stand to lose with the ongoing crisis in local news. Local media institutions aren’t just responsible for holding the powerful accountable and shedding light on injustice; they’re also there to simply document life around them, to act as the institutional memory for the people they serve. They reflect communities back to themselves, forging the shared bond felt with each other through joys as much as tragedies. For its tender treatment of a community in grief, and for embodying the power of local storytelling, Finn and the Bell is awarded a Peabody.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Network/Station/Platform: Rumble Strip. Creator: Erica Heilman. Writer: Erica Heilman. Editor: Erica Heilman. Reporter: Erica Heilman. Photography: Tara Reese. Mix: Jon Tidey.