The George Foster Peabody Awards’ 68th annual search for excellence in electronic media has begun. More than 100,000 “Call for Entries” alerts have been mailed worldwide, supplemented by ads in media-industry publications. Original broadcast, cablecast and webcast programs presented in the calendar year 2008 are eligible.
The Peabody Awards, established in 1940 and administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are the oldest honor in television and radio. Today the Peabody recognizes distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web.
Recipients of the 67th Annual Peabody Awards, which were emceed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, ranged from “Planet Earth,” Discovery Channel’s visually stunning natural-history tour, to NBC’s self-spoofing comedy “30 Rock”; from “God’s Warriors,” a three-part “CNN Presents” examining religious fundamentalism around the world, to “Whole Lotta Shakin’,” a history of rockabilly music distributed by Public Radio International, to “Ya Es Hora,” Univision’s multifaceted campaign to encourage Hispanic Americans to seek citizenship.
International winners included “A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses,” an investigative travelogue produced by Balkan News Corp. (bTV), and “White Horse Village,” a BBC/BBC America profile of a rustic Chinese community undergoing massive, accelerated change. Local station winners included Dallas’ WFAA-TV for a diverse quartet of investigative reports, WNYC Radio in New York for “The Brian Lehrer Show,” and KNXV-TV in Phoenix for “Security Risks at Sky Harbor,” an expose of lax security at the city’s main airport.
The Peabody Award, considered the most selective and prestigious honor for electronic media programming, is unique in that there are no categories for entry or nominations. Entries are judged by a 15-member Board that includes television critics, industry practitioners, scholars and experts in culture and fine arts.