Through four days of announcements this week, 30 titles were recognized in this year’s Peabody Award winners. The awards recognize the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media in the previous year.
To start the week, Monday’s crop of winners included Asian Americans from filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña, which was broadcast on PBS, looking at Asian-American heritage and complex issue of citizenship in America. Time, from Amazon Studios, was also recognized examining the impact of incarceration on a family as one woman awaits the release of her husband from prison.
On Tuesday, 76 Days was honored for documenting the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the lockdown period of Wuhan, China. Losing Ground was also recognized, which saw Vice News correspondent Alzo Slade explore a type of property ownership that leaves African Americans especially vulnerable to losing their property to developers through arcane and ethically questionable legal mechanism.
Oscar-nominated documentaries Collective and Crip Camp highlighted the titles recognized on Wednesday, along with the Netflix series Immigration Nation.
Array, a multi-platform arts and social impact collective founded by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, also received the Peabody Institutional Award this year.
On the final day of announcements, a pair of documentaries were honored with Peabodys. First, The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad about a subterranean network of tunnels functioning as a hospital in Syria. Here, besieged residents of Al-Ghouta come for relatively safe medical care. The hospital endures fear of daily bombing raids and children suffocating in chemical attacks.
The Cave (pictured) is a Danish Documentary production, in co-production with Ma.Ja.De Hecat Studio Paris Madam Films for National Geographic Documentary Films.
The other documentary recognized on day four was Welcome to Chechnya, directed by David France and filmed in secret using hidden cameras and cell phones. The film covers the ongoing purge of LGBTQ Chechens in the closed Russian republic by a government-directed system of abduction, torture and execution. The film follows undercover activists risking their safety to deliver victims to safe houses and provide visa assistance. The film was a production from HBO Documentary Films, Public Square Films, Ninety Thousand Words, Maylo Films, BBC Storyville.
A pair of news programs were also honored on the final day of Peabody announcements. First, ABC News 20/20 and The Courier Journal were awarded for Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor, a two-hour documentary special that covered the events that led to the police killing Taylor on March 13, 2020. The documentary symbolizes how necessary demands for justice and police reform are, while portraying Taylor as more than the symbol she became.
PBS NewsHour was also honored for “Desperate Journey,” a special about the Darien Gap, a treacherous and lawless 66-mile trail through the wilderness on the border of Colombia and Panama. PBS special correspondent Nadja Drost and videographer Bruno Federico put themselves at risk to join a caravan of migrants and refugees on the trail.
The PBS NewsHour team had already been recognized by the Peabody Awards this year for their COVID-19 coverage.
Of the total 30 winners, PBS led the way with five recipients, followed by Netflix with four, HBO with three, and Amazon, Apple TV+ and Showtime with two each. Other media platforms and outlets that aired programming which won Peabody Awards include ABC, The Atlantic, CBS, Disney Channel, ITV, KING 5, KNXV-TV, MTV, Nashville Public Radio, National Geographic, Shudder and The Washington Post.
The 30 programs chosen for the Peabodys were selected from more than 1,300 entries in TV, podcasts/radio and online in entertainment, news, documentary, arts, children’s programs, public service and multimedia programming. The selections are chosen by a board of 19 jurors.