Winner 2008

Richard Engel Reports: Tip of the Spear

NBC Nightly News

There is never a good war in which to be a journalist, a “war correspondent.” The current war in Afghanistan is no exception. Richard Engel’s time spent with “Viper Company,” an American unit fighting in a remote cluster of mountain outposts in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, is yet another powerful account of young men placed in deadly circumstances. This story seems as if it could have been prepared on any frontier, in any century, in any war. That it takes place on terrain where many armies have fought and failed, however, seems especially pertinent. The terror is magnified when the best of intentions, matched with seasoned strategy, ends in the tragic loss of a comrade, Sgt. John Penich, to “friendly fire.” Engel’s account captures the devastating effect of the event on the surviving soldiers. Later, he visits Penich’s family and there, too, discovers bravery, now of a different sort. The Peniches express the love of their son and brother, their sense of great loss, without rancor or blame. Such is the cost in any war. For presenting this powerful reminder of that cost, a Peabody Award goes to Richard Engel Reports: Tip of the Spear.


Executive producer: Alexandra Wallace. Producers: Madeleine Haeringer, ML Flynn, Michele Neubert, Joo Lee. Editors: Matt Softley, Beverly Chase. Reporter: Richard Engel. Videographer: Bredun Edwards.