Peabody To Honor Interactive Winners March 24

2021 Interactive Board Announcement

The Expanded, 14-Person Jury Will Select a Legacy Cast of Winners, Acknowledging their Historic, Pioneering Role in Laying The Groundwork for Projects of Today and Tomorrow

ATHENS, GA (March 1, 2022)—The Peabody Awards, the oldest and most prestigious awards honoring
stories that matter in broadcasting and streaming media, today announced that it will recognize winning
projects—all to be hand-picked by an expanded, accomplished cohort of jurors—from its newest
category, Digital and Interactive Storytelling, on March 24, 2022 at 10 AM PST/ 1PM ET, via

In 2021, the Peabody Awards introduced the expansion of its award categories to recognize storytelling
achievements across interactive and immersive categories. “Creators have been telling amazingly
powerful stories in these formats for a long time now. Peabody is excited to be much more thoughtful and intentional in recognizing them as stories that matter, standing squarely beside the traditional broadcast categories we have long awarded,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody.

The board has recently added four new jurors: Gabriel J.X Dance, Yasmin Elayat, Navid Khonsari and
Opeyemi Olukemi. In reviewing possible award recipients, this newly created Interactive Board will
screen projects across Gaming, Interactive Journalism, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Social Video,
Interactive Documentary, Transmedia Storytelling, and more. The inaugural awards in Interactive will be
given to legacy media projects that have proven to be enormously influential in setting the standard for
the best storytelling in journalism, documentary, and entertainment using immersive and interactive

“The works in this new category are fundamentally changing how we engage with storytelling, and
therein changing us. It’s imperative that we recognize the projects that have catalyzed and revolutionized how media is seen, understood, engaged with and disseminated. We hope that honoring these legacy winners will continue to push forward our mission of supporting ambitious, groundbreaking creators who strive to make projects with stories that are not only entertaining but can also perhaps prompt visible, societal shifts,” said Diana Williams, chairwoman of the new Peabody Interactive Board.

The Peabody Awards and Black Heart, a creative agency in the space of Extended Reality (XR), are
collaborating to create an interactive website to feature Peabody’s new category. Users will be able to
watch, explore, and experience the winners via a desktop-accessible and mobile-compatible website.
Created with accessibility in mind, users can dive deep into projects with exclusive content and discover secret treasures and other hidden gems. “Our aim is to not only keep pace, but to honor the contributions of these artists with our own efforts,” Jones said. “The new website and awards platform is representative of that.”

The Newest Members of the Peabody Interactive Board are:

Gabriel J.X. Dance is the deputy investigations editor at The New York Times focusing on the nexus of
privacy and safety online. Previously, Dance was part of a team of journalists that reported on the datasharing practices at Facebook and the bot economy on Twitter, was involved in the reporting on Donald Trump’s taxes, and was a founding managing editor at The Marshall Project. Dance has undergraduate degrees in computer science and technical journalism from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was among a group of journalists at The Guardian who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of widespread secret surveillance by the N.S.A..

Yasmin Elayat is an Emmy-award winning immersive director, United States Artists 2020 Fellow, and
Co-Founder at Scatter, an immersive company pioneering Volumetric Filmmaking. Yasmin directed
Scatter’s Zero Days VR (Sundance 2017) a documentary about cyber warfare and the Stuxnet virus,
which won the Emmy for Original Approaches: Documentary. Yasmin is the co-creator of 18DaysInEgypt, which was lauded as one the Moments of Innovation in Participatory Documentary.
Yasmin is a co-director of The Changing Same trilogy. Episode 1 premiered at Sundance 2021 and won
“Best Immersive Narrative” at Tribeca Festival. Yasmin’s work has won multiple awards and exhibited at
various festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SIGGRAPH, Festival de Cannes, and the World Economic

Navid Khonsari, is the co-founder of iNK Stories, an award-winning studio creating impact-forward
original work across games, mixed reality (VR/AR) and immersive experiences, and has forged a new
hybrid of documentary-games: ”Verite Games.” Drawing upon personal history Khonsari created 1979
Revolution: Black Friday, which received the industry’s top honors: a BAFTA, Facebook Game of the
Year, Tribeca FF Storyscape, among others, and was recognized by UNESCO as a digital solution for
peaceful conflict resolution. Khonsari is credited with having ushered in the current wave of
contemporary AAA video games, such as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, Red Dead Revolver, and The
Warriors, up to the recent Resident Evil: Biohazard. He is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, and
guest lectures at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern in Qatar, White House, UN, Sundance
and more.

Opeyemi Olukemi is the executive director of the Center of Documentary Studies (CDS), anchored in
Durham, North Carolina. Throughout her career as an interactive producer, funder and public
programmer, Olukemi has created spaces and pipelines for interdisciplinary artists, communities, and
creative teams to experiment and create meaningful innovative content. Olukemi has previously led teams at POV Spark, served as the Senior Director of Interactive Programs for Tribeca Film Institute and has produced projects for ScrollMotion. Olukemi has served on numerous international festival juries and has mentored through IDFA’s Doc Academy, New Museum’s NEW INC, Oculus’ VR for Good, Sundance’s New Frontier Lab and the Venice Biennale College Cinema, and was also an assistant professor of Integrated Media at Brooklyn College’s Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Olukemi is a proud Rockwood (Ford Foundation) JustFilms Fellow.

The current board of jurors also includes:
Diana Williams (Chair), CEO and co-founder, Kinetic Energy Entertainment
Lars Bastholm, chief creative officer, Story House Egmont
Jay Bushman, writer and producer
Aymar Jean Christian, PhD., associate professor of communication studies, Northwestern
Katerina Cizek, artistic director and co-founder, Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary
Amy Hennig, president, New Media Division at Skydance Media
Al Shaw, editor, News Applications at ProPublica
Kamal Sinclair, executive director of the Guild of Future Architects
Sara Thacher, creative director and senior R&D imagineer at Walt Disney Imagineering
Lance Weiler, co-founder and director, Columbia University School of the Arts Digital
Storytelling Lab

For more information visit and follow #PeabodyAwards #StoriesThatMatter across
Peabody Awards social media channels:

About Peabody Awards
Respected for its integrity and revered for its standards of excellence, the Peabody is an honor like no
other for television, podcast/radio, interactive 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. The Peabody Awards were founded in 1940 at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and are still based in Athens today.

About Black Heart �
Black Heart is a worker-owned creative agency in the Extended Reality (XR) space dedicated to centering Black creators and stories. As a group of collaborators, strategists, and thought leaders, the goal of BlackHeart is simple – create an agency built on the principles of the Black community through amazing storytelling, innovative thinking, anti-racist beliefs, a commitment to lifting each other, our clients, our neighbors. We do this in the service of our clients, of you, like-minded individuals and organizations wishing and working to create a better world through action.


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