Peabody is launching the Peabody Media Center, a scholarly research center and digital media production arm of the prestigious Peabody Awards. The announcement was made by Jeffrey Jones, executive director of the awards program and new center. The Peabody Media Center is based at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Jones revealed the formation of the Peabody Media Center at an event last night in Los Angeles celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Peabody Awards attended by senior executives from the entertainment and media worlds. The evening also saluted the lifetime achievements of Norman Lear, a Peabody Award honoree, and featured a conversation between the television icon and producer Judd Apatow.
“The Peabody Media Center is a natural extension of what the Peabody Awards set out to do 75 years ago,” Jones stated. “It provides a platform for elevating the currency, conversation around, and impact of each year’s best stories in television, radio and digital media. It furthers our goal of becoming a year-round organization that demonstrates how and why Peabody-winning stories are influencing the national dialogue about pressing social issues.”
The Peabody Media Center’s three primary areas of focus are:
The Peabody Media Center will engage in programming that outwardly extends the yearly awards winners, as well as critical scholarly engagement with the changing media industry landscape. The Peabody Media Center is in the process of launching the Peabody Digital Network, a new digital media production arm of Peabody. Through alliances with a variety of distribution outlets, the network will produce and circulate content that illuminates the social and political relevance of award-winning stories and guide public engagement with them. Additional program initiatives include podcasts with award-winning screenwriters, showrunners and producers; and panel discussions, symposia and conferences that link storytellers with groups working to address such issues.
Peabody is home to the third largest archive of audiovisual materials in the United States, housed in UGA’s Special Collections Libraries. Through books, films and digital media productions, The Peabody Media Center’s Cultural Memory Project will connect past and present—recovering vital voices from yesterday’s storytellers and inserting them into debates over issues of the day. The Cultural Memory Project focuses on what these stories can contribute to current social discourse, as well as how they can inform a reevaluation of what constitutes cultural memory of who and what we are as a nation.
The Peabody Media Center will partner with industry organizations and previous Peabody Award winners to engage aspiring screenwriters, producers and filmmakers through master classes, seminars, workshops, internships and other educational activities. The academy’s focus is connecting Peabody winners with the storytellers of the future, with an emphasis on telling stories with the power to engage and transform.
Jeffrey Jones, executive director of the awards program and professor and Lambdin Kay Chair in entertainment and media studies at the University of Georgia, will direct the Peabody Media Center’s work. He is joined by a distinguished group of television and media studies scholars from across the country who serve as the inaugural class of Peabody Fellow Scholars (2017-19).
Professor David Craig, University of Southern California
Professor Aymar Christian, Northwestern University
Professor Jonathan Gray, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Professor Amanda Lotz, University of Michigan
Professor Jason Mittell, Middlebury College
Professor Barbie Zelizer, University of Pennsylvania
Peabody is an organization dedicated to invigorating people through the power of stories. Founded in 1940, Peabody honors and extends conversation around stories that matter in television, radio and digital media through symposiums, screenings, podcasts and an annual awards ceremony considered to be among the most prestigious in the industry. Peabody gives awards for news, entertainment, documentaries, children’s programming, education, interactive programming and public service, which in turn encourage media to reach for and achieve the highest standards. Peabody is administered through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. For more information, visit peabodyawards.com or follow @PeabodyAwards on Twitter.