Our Story

WHY PEABODY MATTERS

Respected for its integrity and revered for its standards of excellence, the Peabody is an honor like no other for television, podcast/radio, and digital media. Chosen each year by a diverse Board of Jurors through unanimous vote, Peabody Awards are given in the categories of entertainment, documentary, news, podcast/radio, arts, children’s and youth, public service, and multimedia programming.

The annual Peabody winners are a collection of 30 stories that powerfully reflect the pressing social issues and the vibrant emerging voices of our day. From major productions to local journalism, the Peabody Awards shine a light on the Stories That Matter and are a testament to the power of art and reportage in the push for truth, social justice, and equity.

As we continue to struggle for progress amid polarizing division, the power of media narratives is paramount. The Peabody Awards elevate stories that defend the public interest, encourage empathy with others, and teach us to expand our understanding of the world around us.

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MEET THE DIRECTOR

Jeffrey P. Jones HeadshotJeffrey P. Jones is the Lambdin Kay Chair and Executive Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia. Jones became only the fifth director of the Peabody Awards in 2013. Prior to that, he was Director of the Institute of Humanities at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Auburn University.

Under Jones’s leadership, television specials celebrating Peabody-winning stories have been broadcast nationally for six of the past seven years, most recently on PBS. He also established the first-ever Boards of Directors (for both the East and West Coasts), comprised of top-level media entertainment industry executives, as well as journalists, documentarians, radio/podcasters, public media and foundation executives, scholars and media impact partners. He also founded the Peabody Futures of Media Award recognizing digital storytelling excellence. In fall 2016, Jones oversaw the relaunch and rebranding of the Peabody Media Center, the scholarly research center and digital media production arm of the Peabody organization.

Professor Jones is the author and editor of six books, including “Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Civic Engagement,” “Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era,” and “The Essential HBO Reader.” Most recently, co-edited with Ethan Thompson and Lucas Hatlan, is “Television History, the Peabody Archives, and Cultural Memory” through the University of Georgia Press. His research and teaching focuses on popular politics, or the ways in which politics are engaged through popular culture. He is a member of the Entertainment and Media Studies Department in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. He hails from Auburn, Alabama.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Bruce M. Ramer (Chair)

    Partner, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown

  • Casey Bloys

    Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max

  • Emerson Coleman

    Senior Vice President, Programming, Hearst Television

  • Susanne Daniels

    Global Head of Original Content, YouTube

  • Craig Erwich

    President, ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, Hulu

  • Cliff Gilbert-Lurie

    Senior Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP

  • Roma Khanna

    Executive Chair, HiddenLight Productions

  • David Kramer

    Co-President, United Talent Agency

  • Steve Lafferty

    Head of Television and Managing Partner, Creative Artists Agency

  • John Landgraf

    Chairman, FX Networks and FX Productions

  • David Nevins

    Chief Creative Officer, CBS and Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks, ViacomCBS

  • Andy Patman

    Partner and Head of Television Content, A3 Artists Agency

  • Rick Rosen

    Head of Television, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment

  • Jennifer Salke

    Head, Amazon Studios

  • Ted Sarandos

    Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Content Officer, Netflix

  • David Stapf

    President, CBS Studios

  • Zack Van Amburg

    Head of Worldwide Video, Apple

  • John Huey (Chair)

    Chair, East Coast Peabody Board of Directors

  • Philip Balboni

    Founder, CEO and Co-Executive Editor, DailyChatter

  • Nancy Barnes

    Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director, NPR

  • Caty Borum Chattoo

    Director, Center for Media & Social Impact, American University

  • Katie Couric

    Founder, Katie Couric Media

  • Maria Cuomo Cole

    Founder, Cuomo Cole Productions

  • Nancy Dubuc

    CEO, Vice Media

  • Jessica Herrera-Flanigan

    Vice President, Policy & Philanthropy, Americas, Twitter

  • Kerri Hoffman

    CEO, PRX

  • Dave Isay

    Founder and President, STORYCORPS

  • Paula Kerger

    President and CEO, PBS

  • Chris McCarthy

    President, Entertainment & Youth Brands, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, Viacom

  • Pat Mitchell

    CEO and Producer; Founder, TEDWomen & Chair, Sundance Institute board

  • Courteney Monroe

    President of Content, National Geographic Global Networks

  • Sheila Nevins

    Head, MTV Documentary Films, MTV Studios

  • Michele Norris-Johnson

    Founding Director, The Race Card Project & Former NPR Host

  • Soledad O’Brien

    Chief Executive Officer, Soledad O'Brien Productions

  • Malika Saada Saar

    Senior Counsel, Civil and Human Rights, Google

  • Connor Schell

  • Regina K. Scully

    Founder and CEO, Artemis Rising Foundation

  • Kashif Shaikh

    Co-Founder and Executive Director, Pillars Fund

  • Neal Shapiro

    President and CEO, WNET New York Public Media

  • Marcia Smith

    President, Firelight Media

BOARD OF JURORS

  • Martha Nelson (Chair)

    Former SVP and Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo! and former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc.

  • Lorraine Ali

    TV Critic, The Los Angeles Times

  • Dr. Manuel Betancourt

    Contributing Editor, Film Quarterly; Film & TV Critic, Culture Writer

  • Marcy Carsey

    TV Producer, Co-Founder, Carsey-Werner Company

  • Henry Goldblatt

    Former Editor-in-Chief of Entertainment Weekly

  • Dr. Herman Gray

    Emeritus Professor, Sociology, UC Santa Cruz

  • Karen Hall

    Veteran TV writer, producer, creative consultant

  • Dr. Dana A. Heller

    Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Eastern Michigan University

  • Kathy Im

    Director of Journalism and Media; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

  • Michael Isip

    President & CEO, KQED

  • Simon Kilmurry

    Executive Director, International Documentary Association

  • Wonya Lucas

    President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks

  • Mark McKinnon

    Television producer and political analyst

  • Mike Monello

    Founder/Creative Director, Campfire

  • Monica Pearson

    Former news anchor, WSB-TV, Atlanta

  • Dr. Aswin Punathambekar

    Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia

  • John Seigenthaler

    Partner, DVL Seigenthaler and former anchor, NBC News

  • Anne Sweeney

    Former co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group

  • Bonnie Turner

    Veteran film and TV writer and producer

HISTORY OF THE AWARDS

As radio rose in popularity in the late 1930s, The National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to establish a prestigious award similar to the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in broadcasting. Lambdin Kay, manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta, asked John Drewry, dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism, to sponsor the awards, upon the recommendation of Lessie Smithgall, a graduate who worked at the station.

The first awards were issued in 1941 for excellence in radio programming broadcast in the previous year of 1940.

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George Foster Peabody (1852-1938), a Georgia native, was a successful investment banker, and as of 1906, a social activist. Peabody was a supporter of women’s suffrage, free trade, and black education in the American South. Contrary to popular belief, the Peabody Awards were not established through an endowment or provisions in Peabody’s will, but named after him posthumously in recognition of his contributions to the University of Georgia at large. The Peabody Award medallion was commissioned by his family and designed by sculptor Evelyn Beatrice Longman. Peabody is sometimes confused for George Peabody (1795-1869), who was also a banker and philanthropist.

  • John Drewry
  • Worth McDougald
  • Barry Sherman
  • Horace Newcomb

Serving on the Peabody Board of Jurors offers the rare opportunity to help set the highest standards for the media industries.

Over the last 77 years, jurors have included such luminaries as Alfred A. Knopf, Bennett Cerf, John Daly, Newton Minnow, Liz Carpenter, Barbara Jordan, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

As part of the third largest audiovisual archive in the United States, the Peabody Awards Collection consists of over 90,000 titles, with radio programs dating from 1940 and television from 1948. The Collection contains radio transcription discs, audiotape, 16mm kinescopes and prints, 2″ video reels, video cassettes, and objects associated with past award entrants. Many of the programs in the collection may be only surviving copies of the work, especially in the case of local radio and television broadcasting. The Collection is managed by the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries.

Press kits, scripts, and correspondence submitted with the entries are housed in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

OUR STAFF

Lynh Tran

Associate Director for Strategy & Operations

Christine Drayer

Chief Marketing Officer