Winner 2004

The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside America’s Most Powerful Company


This exploration of one of the most familiar commercial icons in America—and increasingly in the world—is a deep examination of corporate culture. But Wal-Mart is not just any corporation nor is its culture. From the modest offices at the Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters, to its influence on the Chinese economy, from “the Wal-Mart Cheer” to the fleets of 18-wheelers, this company is as distinctive as it is controversial. CNBC’s documentary chronicles the amazing rise of this enterprise, describes its successes, and probes issues surrounding its increasingly common presence throughout the United States and its expansion into the world. This is the “store” that sells more DVDs, groceries, toys, diamonds, clothing, bicycles, toothpaste, and dog food than any retailer on Earth. It processes more film, grinds more lenses, consumes more energy, and develops more real estate than any other commercial entity. The Age of Wal-Mart presses executives to explain the huge number of lawsuits leveled against the company, including class-action suits by employees and suits brought by shoppers. The documentary gives voice to communities attempting to block the development of new stores as well as to those welcoming the giant company. Reporter David Faber never backs away from hard questions; neither does he practice “gotcha” interviewing. All involved are given their chance to explain actions, define values, and respond to other points of view. The thorough report was written by Faber, producer Lori Gordon and executive producer Glen Rochkind. Wendy Lehman served as coordinating producer, Angel Perez as director of photography, and Patrick Ahearn as editor. A Peabody Award is presented to The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside America’s Most Powerful Company for its revealing account of an institution that has altered commercial practice throughout the world.