Courage is Theme among Peabody Winners

Originally published on the Grady College website, May 21, 2012.

Sir Patrick Stewart talks with UGA President Michael Adams at the 71st annual Peabody Awards. Photo/Joe Dennis.

New York City received a taste of Athens, Ga., yesterday as more than 500 journalists, producers and actors gathered at Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria for the 71st annual Peabody Awards.

“This is the signature event for UGA,” said Peabody Awards show executive producer Jody Danneman, a 1988 alum of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and owner of Atlanta Image Arts. “Nothing at the University has the international reach of the Peabody’s.”

Indeed, included among popular 2012 award winners like Jeopardy!, CNN Heroes and Parks and Recreation are international programs like Hong Kong’s TVB Jade Channel and South Africa’s Intersexions.

“There is one criteria for a Peabody Award — excellence,” said Peabody Awards director Dr. Horace Newcomb. “And it has to be a unanimous decision by the judges.”

Peabody Awards director Dr. Horace Newcomb speaks with two-time winner Stephen Colbert. With 15 judges comprised of media executives, renowned journalists and media critics, garnering a unanimous decision on “excellence” is difficult. This year, more than 1,000 entries were whittled down to 38 Peabody Awards. Photo/Joe Dennis.

Two-time Peabody Award winner Sir Patrick Stewart served as master of ceremonies of Monday’s event, announcing the winners in a two-hour ceremony in which acceptance speeches were strictly limited to roughly 30 seconds.

“Each year the list of winners is noticed by everyone in the industry,” Stewart said at the Ceremony. “What strikes me about this year’s winners is the boldness and courage of the programs and their makers.”

Courage was the theme among many award winners, including Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Arab Awakening, Loud Mouth Films and Limited’s “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” and BBC’s “Somalia: Land of Anarchy.”

In accepting a Peabody for CNN’s coverage of the Middle East revolutions, news show host Anderson Cooper paid tribute to journalists around the world. “To all those risking their lives to give a voice to others, thank you,” he said.

Peabody’s reach stretches beyond the seriousness of journalism. This year’s winners included pop culture fares inch as HBO’s Game of Thrones, Showtime’s Homeland and NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

“It’s nice to win a Peabody,” said Parks and Recreation executive producer Michael Schur. “But it’s great to hear my name called out by Capt. Jean Luc Picard.”

Accepting the Peabody for The Colbert Report, recognizing segments on his legal Super Pac, “Americans for a better tomorrow, tomorrow,” Colbert thanked his staff, network and lawyers, and offered hope for the future.

“This is our second Peabody, and growing up I always dreamed of winning three of these,” Colbert said. “We’re almost there.”

To view a full list of winners, visit www.peabody.uga.edu.

Author: Joe Dennis

Journalist. Teacher. Announcer. Coach.