Newspro: Peabody Awards

NewsPro: Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards
As ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued to occupy broadcast journalists’ attention and resources, the University of Georgia continues to take note. When the 67th annual Peabody Awards are handed out June 16 at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, war will for the second consecutive year be the topic of many of the winning programs. ... On Page 23

  • ‘60 Minutes: The Killings in Haditha'
    For 17 months after 24 civilians were killed in the Iraqi town of Haditha, none of the U.S. Marines involved in the killing—four of whom eventually were charged with murder—spoke publicly about the events. That changed in March 2007 when Scott Pelley of CBS’ “60 Minutes” interviewed Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the 25-year-old in charge on that day: Nov. 19, 2005. ... On Page 24
  • ‘CBS News Sunday Morning: The Way Home’
    “The Way Home” chronicles the stories of two soldiers, Juanita Wilson and Dawn Halfaker, who were seriously wounded in Iraq and the challenges they have faced during their rehabilitation and re-entry into the changed reality of their daily lives. Both women lost limbs as a result of bombings, and their recovery continues. ... On Page 24
  • ‘Ya Es Hora’
    With the 2008 presidential campaign shaping up a a watershed moment in U.S. politics, Univision Communications is being acknowledged for outstanding public service for the role it is playing with multipronged citizenship and get-out-the-vote efforts in hundreds of Spanish-speaking communities throughout the U.S. ... On Page 26
  • ‘Bob Woodruff Reporting: Wounds of War’
    For ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, the Peabody Award he is taking home is exceptionally personal, because unlike most of the work that is being honored, his involves his own traumatic personal story. In January 2006, just over a month after he was named co-anchor of “World News Tonight,” Mr. Woodruff was in a vehicle in Iraq that was struck by a roadside bomb. ... On Page 26
  • ‘God’s Warriors’
    When Christiane Amanpour was asked by her CNN bosses in late 2006 to tackle the tough topic of fundamentalism across three religions, she had a twinge of doubt: “I wasn’t 100% sure people would watch six hours,” she said. ... On Page 26
  • WSLS-TV, Roanoke, Va.
    Breaking news at the local TV station usually translates to discrete events: a fire, a car chase, a robbery. But on April 16, 2007, NBC affiliate WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Va., was faced with covering the worst mass shooting in United States history—while it was unfolding—as well as its immediate aftermath. ... On Page 27
  • ‘Frontline: Cheney’s Law’
    In some 380 interviews since Sept. 11, 2001, Michael Kirk’s “Frontline” documentary team had been hearing tidbits about Vice President Dick Cheney. Finally, they decided it was time to add them all up in what became “Cheney’s Law,” a film that traces the ideological underpinnings of the vice president’s decades-long quest to expand presidential privilege. ... On Page 28
  • ‘Independent Lens: Sisters in Law’
    The stories of abuse—a prepubescent girl raped and an even younger one beaten with a coat hanger—are hard to hear in “Sisters in Law,” a documentary produced by Vixen Films and the U.K.’s Film Four, acquired for PBS’ “Independent Lens” by the Independent Television Service (ITVS). But the film itself, told from a fly-on-the-wall perspective in the courtroom in Cameroon’s Kumba Town, turns tragedy into something of a triumph, as the central players, no-nonsense state prosecutor Vera Ngassa and judge Beatrice Ntuba, attempt to bring justice to poor women. ... On Page 28
  • ‘Nova: Judgment Day’
    PBS’ “Nova” tackled the subject of evolution in an eight-part series of the same name that aired in the fall of 2001. But Paula Apsell, “Nova’s” senior executive producer, nonetheless watched closely in September 2005 when the trial of Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District began in a federal courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa. ... On Page 28
  • ‘To Die in Jerusalem’
    Hilla Medalia was a first-time filmmaker, looking for a topic to fulfill her master’s degree requirements, when she set out to make what ultimately became “To Die in Jerusalem.” Getting the film on the air took five years, as Ms. Medalia wound her way through the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the vagaries of documentary funding, but she ended up in a highly coveted spot on HBO. ... On Page 29
  • WFAA-TV, Dallax
    Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV is being honored with a “compilation” award for four notable investigative series in 2007. “We try to pick stories with systemic issues that need to be looked at long-term,” said investigative producer Mark Smith. “There are so many stories out there, it’s a real art to culling out the key ones and focusing our energies on projects we can do a multipart [report] on.” ... On Page 30
  • KXNV-TV, Phoenix
    When Susan D’Astoli, senior executive producer at KNXV-TV in Phoenix, got a tip that all was not secure at the local airport, she decided to see for herself. “We sat down with some bags, looked like travelers and just observed what was happening at the checkpoints,” she said. ... On Page 30
  • WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh
    WTAE-TV’s “The Fight for Open Records” is all about how one good story leads to another, according to investigative reporter Jim Parsons. The Pittsburgh Hearst-Argyle station produced a story on loafing employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (known as Penn DOT). When the Penn DOT press secretary flew on a state-owned plane to Pittsburgh to attend Mr. Parsons’ interview with two executives, the newsman made a mental note to check on who was using these state planes and for what reasons. That research led to a story on the abuse of state-owned planes. ... On Page 30
  • BBC World News America: 'White Horse Village'
    Sometimes, even the smallest of stories can convey bigger truths, as with “White Horse Village,” an ongoing series on “BBC World News America” about a Chinese farming hamlet so obscure many Chinese haven’t heard of it. ... On Page 31
  • ‘Silence of the Bees’
    The 26-year-old PBS series “Nature” won its first Peabody Award two decades ago for a program on the drying up of an African watering hole. But it hasn’t been resting on its laurels since: It won its second two years ago, and its third this season, for “Silence of the Bees,” proving that even in an era when there is more nature documentary competition than ever, the program can still compete. ... On Page 32
  • mtvU: Half of Us
    One of the signatures of MTV Networks is its extensive use of polling and focus groups to understand its target audience. One statistic jumped out at the company’s mtvU campus-focused network: Suicide is the No. 2 killer of college students. ... On Page 32
  • ‘Planet Earth’
    “Awesome, spectacular, humbling, exhilarating” is how the Peabody Awards committee described “Planet Earth,” a co-production of Discovery Channel and the BBC that could well stand as the last, best record of a disappearing natural world. ... On Page 32
  • ‘Nimrod Nation’
    Filmmaker Brett Morgen (“The Kid Stays in the Picture”) went to the town of Watersmeet, Mich.—population 1,400—in 2004 to film three commercials for ESPN (tagline: “Without sports, who would root for the Nimrods?”) and essentially never left. No small-towner himself (he grew up in Santa Monica, Calif.), Mr. Morgen said he has always been “fascinated with small-town America, mostly from watching John Ford films.” ... On Page 33
  • ‘The Colbert Report’
    Like “Nimrod Nation,” another Peabody Award winner for 2007, “The Colbert Report” started as a series of commercials. But unlike that series—or any other series, for that matter—the ads were fake and the show didn’t even exist. Once a few creative minds at Comedy Central decided to test the waters with a real program, however, American political satire did a backflip. ... On Page 34