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.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
Jeffrey 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
Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max
Senior Vice President, Programming, Hearst Television
Global Head of Original Content, YouTube
President, ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, Hulu
Senior Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP
Executive Chair, HiddenLight Productions
Co-President, United Talent Agency
Head of Television and Managing Partner, Creative Artists Agency
Chairman, FX Networks and FX Productions
Chief Creative Officer, CBS and Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks, ViacomCBS
Partner and Head of Television Content, A3 Artists Agency
Head of Television, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Head, Amazon Studios
Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Content Officer, Netflix
President, CBS Studios
Zack Van Amburg
Head of Worldwide Video, Apple
John Huey (Chair)
Chair, East Coast Peabody Board of Directors
Founder, CEO and Co-Executive Editor, DailyChatter
Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director, NPR
Caty Borum Chattoo
Director, Center for Media & Social Impact, American University
Founder, Katie Couric Media
Maria Cuomo Cole
Founder, Cuomo Cole Productions
CEO, Vice Media
Vice President, Policy & Philanthropy, Americas, Twitter
Founder and President, STORYCORPS
President and CEO, PBS
President, Entertainment & Youth Brands, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, Viacom
CEO and Producer; Founder, TEDWomen & Chair, Sundance Institute board
President of Content, National Geographic Global Networks
Head, MTV Documentary Films, MTV Studios
Founding Director, The Race Card Project & Former NPR Host
Chief Executive Officer, Soledad O'Brien Productions
Malika Saada Saar
Senior Counsel, Civil and Human Rights, Google
Regina K. Scully
Founder and CEO, Artemis Rising Foundation
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Pillars Fund
President and CEO, WNET New York Public Media
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.
TV Critic, The Los Angeles Times
Dr. Manuel Betancourt
Contributing Editor, Film Quarterly; Film & TV Critic, Culture Writer
TV Producer, Co-Founder, Carsey-Werner Company
Former Editor-in-Chief of Entertainment Weekly
Dr. Herman Gray
Emeritus Professor, Sociology, UC Santa Cruz
Veteran TV writer, producer, creative consultant
Dr. Dana A. Heller
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Eastern Michigan University
Director of Journalism and Media; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
President & CEO, KQED
Executive Director, International Documentary Association
President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks
Television producer and political analyst
Founder/Creative Director, Campfire
Former news anchor, WSB-TV, Atlanta
Dr. Aswin Punathambekar
Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia
Partner, DVL Seigenthaler and former anchor, NBC News
Former co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group
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.
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.
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