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5 pubradio programs and one PBS doc receive Peabody Awards

Originally published in Current, April 9, 2007

StoryCorps, the oral history project that produces features for Morning Edition and an NPR News investigation on post-traumatic stress disorder among Iraqi War veterans won Peabody honors, along with two radio projects dealing with the experiences of past and contemporary immigrants — Crossing East, a multipart series on Asian-American history, and Crossing Borders, a chronicle of Mexicans illegally entering the United States.

In addition, This American Life received a Peabody for a program examining the habeas corpus rights of terrorism suspects.

PBS, which was credited for six Peabodys last year, won with an American Masters documentary by Ric Burns, “Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film.”

The Peabody winners, announced April 4 by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, were chosen to represent the best of electronic media in 2006. The Peabody jury of TV critics, media execs and cultural experts selected 35 winners in the 66th annual competition. The awards will be presented at a June 4 luncheon in New York.

Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards, said the broadening definition of electronic media and the increasingly international scope of the competition made the work of this year’s judges “more difficult—and more rewarding—as creators and producers of electronic media develop more and more powerful, important, and engaging work.”

Public radio and TV’s 2006 Peabody Award winners are:

BULLET NPR News for “Mental Anguish and the Military,” a 22-minute report by Daniel Zwerdling that aired on All Things Considered Dec. 4 [2006], used “candid, sometimes startling interviews” to reveal how Iraq War veterans were treated at Fort Carson, Colo., judges wrote in the awards citation. Anne Hawke produced the report and Ellen Weiss, the network's new news v.p., edited it.

BULLET Crossing East: Our History, Our Stories, an eight-part radio series drew on 500 hours of oral history interviews to explore Asian-American history. Production credits cited MediaRites Productions and distributor Public Radio International.

BULLET Crossing Borders, a special on illegal immigration produced by, “gave listeners a multitextured account of illegal immigration that included vivid, you-are-there audio from the Mexican desert,” according to the awards citation.

BULLET This American Life and Chicago Public Radio were credited for “Habeas Schmabeas,” about the government’s denial of habeas corpus rights to terrorism suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. Judges praised the show for its “look at the endangerment of a fundamental American legal right” and “Kafka-esque stories” of two former Guantanamo prisoners.

BULLET StoryCorps, the oral history project led by indie David Isay, was lauded for a “stream of moving first-person accounts . . . ranging from civil rights veterans to Hurricane Katrina survivors to Alzheimer’s victims” that air on NPR’s Morning Edition.

BULLET American Masters’ “Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film” depicted how the artist’s “work, notoriety and life embodied and influenced the culture” of the late 20th century, Peabody judges wrote. Production credits cited Steeplechase Films Inc., High Line Productions, Daniel Wolf Inc., and producing station WNET in New York.

Web page posted April 9, 2007
Copyright 2007 by Current Publishing Committee

NPR's probe also won notice from IRE

Also announced in April: NPR's Peabody-winning report “Mental Anguish and the Military” received an IRE Certificate from Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. for the report which also received a Peabody Award.

IRE’s judges said the report “documented in heartbreaking fashion the mental-health toll on American soldiers sent to Iraq and the continuing battle they face with their own superiors when they return. . . . The journalists compared written policies to actual practices at the Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado, discovering neglect and even punishment of some soldiers who dared speak up about depression. After the stories aired, Senate leaders demanded a Pentagon investigation on the soldiers’ allegations.


Complete list of 2006 Peabody winners.

Complete list of 2006 IRE award winners.


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