The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors revealed today winners in News, Radio/Podcast, and Public Service, rounding out the Peabody 30 for programs released in 2017. Honorees represent superior investigative reporting at the local and national levels, profiles from Rohingya to Russia, and vital, life-saving public service reports on women’s health. The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
Peabody jurors also announced an Institutional Award to “60 Minutes,” one of the nation’s most enduring media institutions celebrating 50 years on the air. Since its debut, the CBS News “magazine for television” has become nothing less than a touchstone in American life, regularly pursuing investigations that lead to legal action, catalyze social change, and illuminate dark government secrets. A previous recipient of more than 20 Peabody Awards, “60 Minutes” consistently delivers hard-hitting, exclusive, thoroughly reported stories that help the American citizenry better understand phenomena as varied as Watergate, Abu Ghraib, symphonic orchestras in the Congo, and cocaine smuggling by the CIA. The journalistic powerhouse has been the source of personalities who have become household names, including original co-hosts Harry Reasoner and Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Morley Safer, Andy Rooney, Bob Simon, Lesley Stahl, Lara Logan, Steve Kroft, Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, and Bill Whitaker.
Members of the “60 Minutes” team will join fellow Peabody Award winners, including The Fred Rogers Company (Institutional) and Carol Burnett (Peabody Career Achievement Award presented by Mercedes-Benz), at the awards ceremony on Saturday, May 19 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. The evening’s host, Hasan Minhaj, will also be celebrating a Peabody win for his TV special “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King.” The presenting sponsor is Mercedes-Benz, the official automobile of the 77th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony. Supporting sponsor is The Coca-Cola Co. Variety is the exclusive media partner.
Winners in News, Radio/Podcast, and Public Service programming are:
2017 News Winners
Big Buses, Bigger Problems: Taxpayers Taken for a Ride
NBC5 / KXAS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth (NBC5/KXAS)
In this impressive series from NBC5/KXAS’s investigative news team, reporters unravel shady real estate deals by the Dallas County Schools (DCS) after a school bus camera-system investment goes bust. The reporting uncovered a wide web of corruption and staggering financial mismanagement, which led to swift action by the Texas government and voters.
Charlottesville: Race and Terror
VICE News Tonight on HBO (HBO)
Last summer, horrified Americans watched as neo-Nazi supporters occupied Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park to protest the removal of Confederate monuments. VICE reporter Elle Reeve and her crew documented the unfiltered declarations and threats of violence by white supremacists with fearless reporting and unprecedented access. Her portrait of Christopher Cantwell and fellow white supremacists offered a sharp contrast to White House claims that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the conflict.
Fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria
CNN’s war reporters revealed many sides of the fall of ISIS, and the devastation left in its wake. In addition to courageous correspondents, this notable set of dramatic reports provided fresh angles and the creative use of technology, including stunning drone footage that captured the size and scope of ruined neighborhoods. The network’s continued investment and dedication to the story is especially significant as global conflicts simmer.
Inside Putin’s Russia
PBS NewsHour (PBS, WETA)
Special correspondent Nick Schifrin and producer Zach Fannin spent seven weeks in Russia, traveling to more than 12 cities to provide viewers context for thinking about President Vladimir Putin’s global impact. In addition to background on how this KGB veteran rose to power, we learn how he has shaped public opinion through appeals to nationalism and manufacturing consent via “fake news.” Each segment takes us deeper into understanding the mechanisms of power Putin has at his disposal.
Plight of Rohingya Refugees
BBC News (BBC World News)
With their media access restricted, BBC correspondents worked to pursue reports of entire villages destroyed and people being slaughtered as more than half a million Muslims fled persecution in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh. The series of measured reports, in particular, details the inhumane toll borne by children in an ethnic cleansing.
CBS News 60 Minutes & The Washington Post (CBS)
Sophisticated business reporting from “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post resulted in a far-reaching investigation into how the Drug Enforcement Administration was hobbled in its attempts to hold Big Pharma accountable in the opioid epidemic. The explosive story features damning testimony from whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi, a former DEA investigator, uncovering a truly bipartisan problem that continues to receive massive amounts of funding even while the scourge of addiction continues to grow.
2017 Radio/Podcast Winners
Lost Mothers: Maternal Mortality in the U.S.
NPR and ProPublica (NPR)
This collaborative series examines a crisis rarely talked about: Why does the U.S., which spends more per capita on health care than any other country, carry the highest rate of women dying as a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth in the developed world? Even more troubling is the revelation that black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth due to inherent discrimination. “Lost Mothers” is vital public service reporting that pushes the standard for vigilance, prevention, and equity in women’s health care.
Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media (MPR News)
On July 6, 2016, police pulled over Philando Castile for a broken taillight. Seventy-four seconds later, officer Jeronimo Yanez fired seven shots into Castile’s car, killing him as his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds streamed what was happening over Facebook and her four-year-old daughter wept in fear. This remarkable podcast series puts a human face on the tragedy, providing context for the legal and political struggles that followed with excellent on-the-spot reporting and a balanced approach to understanding both men involved in the event.
Serial and This American Life (stownpodcast.org)
From the opening moment of “S-Town,” when the compelling voice of John B. McLemore crackles through the phone line peddling his dark suspicion of an unreported murder in Bibb County, Alabama, the listener is hooked. “S-Town” breaks new ground for the medium by creating the first audio novel, a non-fiction biography constructed in the style and form of a 7-chapter novel. Three years in the making, reporter Brian Reed and producer Julie Snyder started down the road of the procedural and wound up creating true audio art.
The Pope’s Long Con
Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Louisville Public Media (Louisville Public Media )
This incredible podcast about a local politician known as “the Pope” demonstrates the importance of checks and balances—and of dogged local journalism. Reporters R.G. Dunlop, Jacob Ryan, and Laura Ellis worked for seven months to investigate the extravagant claims of church leader and state representative Dan Johnson whose glorified past was akin to Forrest Gump.
Uncivil: The Raid
Gimlet Media (Gimlet Media)
Public history and family stories intertwine for an imaginative retelling of the pivotal role played by 250 newly escaped slaves struggling for freedom during the Civil War in South Carolina. Drawing on community memories and the stories of descendants who participated in the raid, the podcast beautifully tells the engaging but little acknowledged story of the planning and execution (behind Confederate troop lines) of the event, which led to the freeing of 750 enslaved men, women, and children.
2017 Public Service Winner
The Cut: Exploring FGM
Al Jazeera Correspondent (Al Jazeera)
Fatma Naib’s personal journey to explore the traditions and controversies inherent to female genital mutilation (FGM), is a nuanced, culturally aware film. Naib travels to Africa to understand why FGM is still practiced legally in some countries despite causing long-term serious pain and health issues for girls and women who have been cut. Clinical rather than gruesome, the film provides an education with sensitivity to cultural and community identity.