PBS leads Peabody nominations for docs, news, public service and audio

By NewscastStudio

The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors today announced the 41 nominees for the documentary, news, public service, and radio and podcast categories selected to represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media during 2023. The nominees were chosen by a unanimous vote of 32 jurors from over 1,100 entries from television, podcasts and radio and the web in entertainment, news, documentary, arts, children’s and youth, public service, and multimedia programming.

PBS leads the nominations list with 11 total nods. HBO and Max also received multiple nominations.

The nominees for the remaining categories – including arts, children’s and youth, entertainment and interactive and immersive – will be announced on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

The winners of the 84th annual Peabody Awards will be announced on May 9, 2024, and then celebrated on Sunday, June 9, 2024m at a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. This will be Peabody’s first in-person ceremony since 2019, as well as the first time ever in its history that the Awards will take place in Los Angeles. The awards ceremony will be produced by Bob Bain Productions. The 84th annual Peabody Awards are sponsored by Delta, and Variety will serve as the media partner for the awards ceremony.

“From exposing injustice to capturing the struggles and triumphs of inspirational figures across the world, these extraordinary nominees demonstrate the power and beauty of compelling storytelling,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody, in a statement. “Within an increasingly diverse and constantly evolving media ecosystem, Peabody believes these nominees deserve special recognition for crafting bold stories that continue to inspire us, but also challenge us to do better.”

“We look forward to honoring the winners in Los Angeles, a first in Peabody’s storied history,” Jones added.

Peabody is based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Documentary

  • “20 Days in Mariupol” (PBS): A team of Ukrainian journalists are trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol as they endeavor to continue their work documenting atrocities of the Russian invasion. As the only international reporters remaining in the city while Russian forces close in, they capture what will become some of the most defining images of the war—dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more. (“Frontline” and The Associated Press)
  • “All That Breathes” (HBO and Max): Two brothers devote their lives to the quixotic effort of protecting the black kite, a majestic bird of prey essential to the ecosystem of New Delhi that has been falling from the sky at alarming rates. Amid environmental toxicity and social unrest, the “kite brothers” spend day and night caring for the creatures in their makeshift avian basement hospital. (HBO Documentary Films  in association with Submarine Deluxe and Sideshow; a Kiterabbit Films and Rise Films production in collaboration with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios)
  • “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (HBO and Max): This film documents the life of artist Nan Goldin and her activism against the Sackler family, whose Purdue Pharma aggressively marketed its OxyContin painkiller—a substance largely responsible for America’s opioid crisis. Goldin, who herself was once addicted to the drug, has led creative protests in an effort to stop major museums from taking Sackler donations and naming galleries after the family. (HBO Documentary Films presents a Participant and Neon presentation)
  • “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (National Geographic): National Geographic documents Uganda’s 2021 presidential election, in which music star, activist, and opposition leader Bobi Wine rallies his people in a dangerous fight for freedom from President Yoweri Museveni’s oppressive 35-year regime. (Southern Films, Ventureland, National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • “The Eternal Memory” (Paramount+): Augusto and Paulina, a couple who have been together for 25 years, face down Augusto’s recent Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, wondering when the moment will come that he no longer recognizes her. (Micromundo, Fabula, MTV Documentary Films)
  • “Eternal Spring” {Vice, CBC, Arte, BBC) This animated documentary written, directed, and co-produced by Jason Loftus is based on the animation of Chinese artist Daxiong and centers the Falun Gong’s 2002 hijacking of broadcast TV stations in Changchun, and China’s continued repression of ethnic and religious minority groups. (Lofty Sky Entertainment Inc.)
  • “Independent Lens: Hidden Letters” (PBS): Directors Violet Du Feng and Zhao Qing reveal how modern women in China are working to maintain the tradition of Nüshu, a secret calligraphy language used to communicate during a time when many women were kept from literacy. (Fish and Bear Pictures LLC, Ten Thousand Images, ITVS, ZDF/ARTE, Bird Street Productions LLC, InMaat Productions, EST Media Holdings Inc., Nika Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures)
  • “Independent Lens: The Picture Taker” (PBS): PBS’ Independent Lens recognizes the complicated life of Ernest Withers, a Civil Rights photographer and FBI informant. Withers’ nearly 2 million images provided an important record of Black history, but his legacy was marred by decades of secret FBI service revealed after his death. (Picture Taker, LLC, Realization Pictures, ITVS, and BPM, in association with K2 Pictures and Ark Media)
  • “Independent Lens: Sam Now” (PBS): A boy helps his half-brother search for his missing mother in this coming-of-age documentary about generational trauma, following Sam Harkness from age 11 to 36 as his middle-class Seattle family is heartbroken and bewildered after his mother suddenly leaves them. (HA/HA Films, 2R Productions, ITVS)
  • “Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning” (HBO and Max): HBO’s series traces the complex history of race-based hostilities in Boston, explored against the backdrop of the 1989 case of Charles Stuart, whose frantic 911 call reporting that he and his wife, a white couple, had been shot by a Black man would ignite a firestorm. (HBO Documentary Films in association with The Boston Globe presents A Little Room Films Production)
  • “POV: While We Watched” (PBS): This timely depiction of a newsroom in crisis follows Indian journalist Ravish Kumar for two years as he battles a barrage of fake news, falling ratings, and the resulting cutbacks while struggling to maintain fact-based analyses. (BRITDOC Films, American Documentary POV)
  • “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple TV+): This film follows the life of beloved actor and activist Michael J. Fox, detailing his personal and professional triumphs and barriers in light of a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and what happens when an optimist faces down an incurable disease. (Concordia Studio in association with Apple)
  • “The Stroll” (HBO and Max): The Stroll tells the history of New York’s Meatpacking District from the point of view of transgender sex workers who lived and worked there, recounting the violence, policing, and gentrification that eventually led to a movement for trans rights. (HBO Documentary Films)
  • “To Kill a Tiger” (TVO, Knowledge Network): Ranjit, a farmer in India, demands justice for his 13-year-old daughter, the victim of a brutal gang rape. His decision to support his daughter is virtually unheard of, and his journey unprecedented. (Notice Pictures Inc., National Film Board of Canada)

News

  • “ABC News Studios IMPACT x Nightline: On The Brink” (Hulu): ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott report on the harrowing stories resulting from new healthcare restrictions on pregnant women, with severe penalties threatening physicians and women facing life-threatening delays. (ABC News)
  • “Against All Enemies” (KXAS): NBC 5 in North Texas investigates a group with ties to the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government movement that is recruiting and training Texas police to enforce its beliefs instead of established laws, claiming that sheriffs are more powerful than the FBI and the president. (KXAS)
  • “Clarence and Ginni Thomas: Politics, Power and the Supreme Court” (PBS): Controversy has swirled around U.S. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and his political activist wife, Ginni. FRONTLINE traces the couple’s rise to power in a narrative that intersects with the history of race and conservatism in America. (“Frontline” and PBS)
  • “Hate Comes to Main Street” (WTVF): As a bizarre political campaign unfolded in a small Tennessee town, WTVF’s chief investigative reporter Phil Williams was unflinching in exposing the lies of a Christian nationalist, anti-LBGTQ mayoral candidate, even in the face of threats from white supremacists. Williams’ committed coverage resulted in record voter turnout and a resounding defeat for the controversial candidate and her far-right allies. (WTVF)
  • “Inside the Iranian Uprising” (PBS): In this documentary, “Frontline” uses protestor footage to take viewers inside the uprising in Iran after the death of a young woman who was in police custody, accused of breaking the Islamic regime’s strict, gendered dress code. More than 500 Iranians were killed in the ensuing crackdown, including 72 children, and these citizen videos provide unique documentation of the events, given press restrictions in the country. (“Frontline” and PBS)
  • “It’s Bisan from Gaza and I’m Still Alive” (Al Jazeera Media Network): Independent journalist Bisan Owda reports from her own social media account as she leaves her home in Gaza City and is repeatedly displaced during the Israeli bombing of Gaza Strip. In collaboration with AJ+, Bisan provides a critical, on-the-ground perspective in a place that has been difficult for international journalists to access. (AJ+)
  • “Nowhere To Turn” (Tegna and KARE): Minnesota’s KARE11 begins with a local case that leads to a nationwide investigation of widespread sexual assault perpetrated by private contractors who are charged with transporting inmates over long distances. (KARE, KUSA, WHAS)
  • “Shadow Men: Inside Wagner, Russia’s Secret War Company” (wsj.com): This 40-minute documentary film goes behind the scenes of the Wagner Group, a nefarious organization led by Yevgeny Prigozhin—a mercenary, oligarch, and onetime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin—who has since rebelled against the leader and died in a plane crash. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • “The Sixth” (WANF): This Atlanta News First series documents Georgia’s failure to represent defendants who can’t afford lawyers, and the ways they languish in various states of imprisonment without a speedy trial, including a man who has spent ten years in jail without getting his day in court. (Atlanta News First)
  • “War in the Holy Land” (“PBS NewsHour”): PBS News’ one-hour primetime special aired one week after the October 7th Hamas attacks, helping viewers make sense of the devastation, the Palestinian group responsible, the intelligence failures of Israel and its allies, and the history of the region’s tensions. (“PBS NewsHour,” PBS News)
  • “The Wrong Man” (KFOR): Twenty years ago, an imprisoned man, Glynn Simmons, sent a letter to Oklahoma’s News 4 explaining that he had been wrongfully convicted. For two decades, the station’s Ali Meyer investigated, and now, finally, Simmons has been exonerated. (KFOR)

Public service

  • “911: Hanging on the Line” (KNTV): After a stabbed Oakland, California, police officer almost died because his own 911 calls failed to connect to an operator, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit uncovered a deeply broken city, state, and federal 911 system. Their persistent coverage led to state action and, ultimately, Oakland investing millions of dollars into its 911 center. (NBC Bay Area)
  • “After Uvalde: Guns, Grief & Texas Politics” (PBS): A year after the Uvalde school shooting, “Frontline,” Futuro Investigates, and The Texas Tribune teamed up to document one community’s trauma amid the ongoing fight over assault rifles. Journalist Maria Hinojosa examines the police response, Uvalde’s history of struggle, and its efforts to heal. (“Frontline,” PBs, Futuro Investigates, The Texas Tribune)
  • “America and the Taliban” (PBS): A three-part documentary looks into how the United States lost the war in Afghanistan, who is responsible, and what the human cost has ultimately been, using decades of on-the-ground reporting as well as interviews with U.S. and Taliban officials. (“Frontline” and PBS)
  • “America’s Dangerous Trucks” (PBS): Deadly traffic accidents involving large trucks have surged over the past decade. In an unforgettable hourlong documentary, “Frontline” and ProPublica examine a particularly harrowing type of truck accident—“underride crashes”—and why they keep happening despite a relatively inexpensive solution. (“Frontline,” PBS, ProPublica)
  • “The Post Roe Baby Boom: Inside Mississippi’s Maternal Health Crisis” (USA Today streaming channels): Thousands more babies are expected to be born each year in Mississippi after the state’s restrictive abortion ban was passed in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This USA Today film takes viewers to the Mississippi Delta to document how these pregnancies are playing out, particularly for women in rural areas where the maternal healthcare system was already pushed to its brink. (USA Today and The Tennessean)

Radio and podcasts

  • “The Big Dig” (GBH-News): Boston Public Radio station GBH takes on the humdrum subject of infrastructure and makes it riveting by going deep on Boston’s large-scale “Big Dig” project, a highway tunneling effort that became infamous for its ballooning price and ever-lengthening timeline, though in the end delivering on its promises. (GBH-News and PRX)
  • “Borrowed and Banned” (Brooklyn Public Library): Over a ten-episode podcast series, the Brooklyn Public Library traces the war against books in America by talking to those who are most affected by it—students, librarians, and teachers whose livelihoods are threatened when they resist, and writers whose books are embattled. (Brooklyn Public Library)
  • “How the Far Right is Making Voting Fraud Easier” (NPR): The ERIC system is one of the best tools states have to catch voter fraud. In a months-long reporting project, NPR uncovered the conservative movement working to sabotage the system, despite the Republican Party’s claims that it is dedicated to catching and rooting out voting improprieties. (NPR)
  • “The COVID Tracking Project” (PRX): The COVID Tracking Project, a massive volunteer effort to document tests, hospitalizations, and deaths in an effort to show where the virus was, and who was dying, became a de facto source of data amid the chaos of COVID-19. The series addresses the crucial concerns the United States faces about why the nation had to rely on volunteerism, rather than federal and state public health institutions, to receive critical COVID data during the worst public health crisis in a century. (Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX and ACKO Productions)
  • “The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop” (Podcast platforms): A two-year investigation by The Washington Post uncovers new details in a long-running international mystery: When Maurice Bishop, the revolutionary leader of Grenada, was executed in 1983 alongside seven others, where did their remains go? Through more than 100 interviews and archival research, this podcast examines the evidence, including the role played by the U.S. government. (The Washington Post)
  • “Post Reports: Surviving to graduation” (Podcast platforms): Post Reports’ three-part series chronicles a year inside Huguenot High School in Richmond, Virginia, a school that experienced several shootings and deaths to learn how the fallout is affecting students and teachers and what educators are doing to prevent future tragedies. But while the reporters were embedded at the school, a student was shot and killed behind the baseball fields, making this a real-time look at the ripple effects of gun violence. (The Washington Post)
  • “Prison Town” (Spotify): In the midst of a federal investigation into civil rights violations in Georgia’s prisons, this podcast uses one prison in South Georgia as a case study, tracing murders on the outside back to inmates on the inside. With hitmen for hire, prison riots, a multimillion-dollar contraband circle, and a warden that has been charged with corruption, the episodes illuminate many of the complex problems that plague our criminal justice system. (The Macon Newsroom and The Georgia Virtue)
  • “The Retrievals” (Serial Productions and The New York Times): Serial Productions and The New York Times tell the story of how dozens of women seeking to get pregnant at a Yale fertility clinic endured excruciating—and, it turns out, unnecessary—pain during the egg retrieval process. The real story behind their pain touches on the intersection of the fentanyl epidemic in America, women’s health issues, and the ways female patients are routinely gaslit. (Serial Productions and The New York Times)
  • “The Uncertain Hour: Season 6 (The Welfare-to-Work Industrial Complex)” (Marketplace/American Public Media): Many Americans have long believed that welfare recipients must get a job—or be preparing for one—to receive government assistance. This Marketplace production delves into the lucrative business that surrounds welfare-to-work policies, and the ways those businesses work to keep recipients dependent on their services. (Marketplace)
  • “Unreformed: the Story of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children” (iHeart Podcasts): Unreformed tells the story of how the state-run Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children derailed the lives of thousands of Black children in the mid-20th century and what happened when five girls escaped in 1968. Listeners hear of physical and sexual abuse, unlivable facilities and grueling labor in the fields surrounding the school, which led many former students to call it a “slave camp.” (School of Humans)
  • “You Didn’t See Nothin” (Podcast platforms): Formerly incarcerated journalist Yohance Lacour revisits the 1997 hate crime on the South Side of Chicago that inspired him to enter the world of investigative journalism before his own ten-year prison sentence. He looks at the ways the crime shaped his own life and reinterprets its implications through a current-day lens. (Invisible Institute and USG Audio)
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