Winner 2007

Just Words

The Center for Emerging Media

Don’t be fooled by the modest title. Just Words speaks volumes, and it has its own spare eloquence. The series of 55 four-minute reports broadcast by WYPR-FM in Baltimore, WYPF-FM in Frederick, Maryland, and WYPO-FM in Ocean City, gave some of that urban area’s most marginalized citizens a rare, mainstream-media opportunity to speak for themselves unfiltered. On Just Words, an HIV-positive ex-felon describes the difficulty of finding a decent paying job. On Just Words, a 70-year-old woman explains how she struggles to raise the grandchildren her drug-addict kids have left with her on $700 a month. On Just Words, workers at a city stadium, Camden Yards, talk about their campaign, which included a hunger strike, to secure a livable wage. The presentation is never sensational; it’s almost matter-of-fact. Yet the stories that are told linger in the memory and accumulate poignancy and power. For giving a voice to people often relegated to the abstraction of statistics, Just Words receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producer: Marc Steiner. Producer: Jessica Phillips.