PBS, HBO, NHK among Peabody winners

Documentaries to receive the prestigious award include Bhutto (pictured), Earth Made of Glass, three from PBS's American Experience, Rebirth, Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter and My Perestroika.
April 4, 2012

PBS, HBO, NHK, Showtime, the BBC and are among the TV and digital outlets to receive Peabody Awards this year.

The prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards – now in their 71st year – recognize excellence in electronic media, ranging from TV to radio stations, individuals and the Internet, and are handed out by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Among the 38 winners are the ‘Independent Lens’ documentary Bhutto, about slain Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto; the HBO doc Earth Made of Glass; Japanese pubcaster NHK’s Surviving the Tsunami; three documentaries in the PBS’s American Experience strand, including Triangle Fire, Freedom Riders and Stonewall Uprising; Showtime’s Rebirth, which examines the impact of the 9/11 attacks on five individuals; the ‘American Masters’ doc Charles and Ray Eames – The Architect and the Painter; and the doc My Perestroika, from PBS ‘POV’ strand, about Russia’s transition from Communism.

Other international recipients included the Taiwanese doc A Year in the CloudsPeople’s Republic of Cheating and Misjudged Cases, a pair of investigative reports by Hong Kong’s TVB; Fuji Television’s The Untold Stories of the Tsunami in Japan and the BBC1 report Somalia: Land of Anarchy.

Here’s a list of selected winners, with descriptions provided the Peabody Awards:

An outgrowth of a 1984 conference that brought together leaders in technology, entertainment and design (TED), the site makes creative thinkers and their ideas available everywhere, anytime.

‘American Experience’ (PBS)
‘American Experience’ in association with Apograph Productions, Firelight Media and Q-Ball Productions

Three exceptional documentaries – Triangle Fire, Freedom Riders and Stonewall Uprising – are recognized this year under the banner of this grand American history anthology.

‘POV’: My Perestroika (PBS)
American Documentary/POV/Red Square Productions, Bungalow Town Productions, ITVS International in association with YLE

Russia’s past, present and possible future are revealed in nuanced detail by this beautifully constructed film about five schoolmates, now adults, who lived through that country’s difficult transition from communism.

With access to more than 2,000 journalists and the BBC’s 72 overseas news bureaus, the site is uniquely situated to provide immediate, evolving coverage of news events great and small.

Who Killed Chea Vichea? (KBDI Denver and other NETA stations)
Loud Mouth Films, Limited, Independent Television Service (ITVS)

This investigative documentary, produced on a shoestring budget, covers the 2004 assassination of a Cambodian trade union leader and exposes corruption in one of the world’s top exporters of low-cost clothing.

The Untold Stories of the Tsunami in Japan (Fuji Television)
Fuji Television Network, Inc.

Detailed, thorough and heart-stopping, this reliving of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster painstakingly combines familiar and unseen video, expert commentary and interviews with survivors.

Earth Made of Glass (HBO)
Clover and A Bee Films, 33&Out, Inc. in association with HBO Documentary Films

This moving documentary explores how Rwanda is dealing with its horrific legacy of genocide. Both the country’s president and an ordinary survivor offer personal perspectives.

Bhutto (PBS)
‘Independent Lens’, Bhutto Film, LLC

In this documentary, former Pakistani president Benazir Bhutto’s life story unfolded like an epic novel, with a fairy tale beginning, a martyr’s death and years of social awakening and political courage in between.

Rebirth (Showtime)
Showtime Presents

By turns poignant and exhilarating, this documentary appraises the impact of the 9/11 attacks on five individuals. Their stories illuminate movement from anger and grief to hope, purpose and renewed spirit.

Surviving the Tsunami (NHK)
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp.)

Combining its own archival footage with video shot by ordinary citizens, this documentary meticulously examines what happened the day the monster wave hit and what Japan’s people and leaders can learn from it.

‘American Masters’: Charles and Ray Eames – The Architect and the Painter (PBS)
Quest Productions, Bread and Butter Films in association with Thirteen’s ‘American Masters’ for WNET

This fascinating and visually inventive biography demonstrates that the mid-century “modern” furniture for which the Eamses are best remembered represents merely a fraction of their ingenious and influential design work.

A Year in the Clouds (PTS)
Public Television Service, Taipei, Taiwan

Beautifully photographed, the film records a year among indigenous Taiwanese mountain people who rely on eco-tourism and shared ownership of land and property to support their communal way of life.

The Peabody Awards will be formally presented at a luncheon at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria, to be hosted by Sir Patrick Stweart, on May 21.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.