Peabody Awards Unveils First Group of 2016 Winners

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'Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel'

Among the winners — culled from the programming areas of news, radio/podcast, web and public service — are HBO's 'Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,' PBS' 'NewsHour,' NPR News and 'This American Life.'

The Peabody Awards on Tuesday unveiled the first group of winners in its inaugural Peabody 30.

Among the 10 winners — culled from the programming areas of news, radio/podcast, web and public service — are HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, PBS' NewsHour, NPR News and "This American Life."

This marks the first year for The Peabody 30, which will be chosen from a total of 60 finalists that were announced last week. Entertainment and children's/youth winners will be announced on NBC's Today show April 21 and documentary and educational winners via Facebook Live on April 26.

The news, radio/podcast, web and public service winners in this year's Peabody 30 are:

"Burning Questions: WTAE Investigates Fire Response Times" (WTAE-TV)
WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh
WTAE reporter Paul Van Osdol provided a four-alarm public service when he doggedly investigated the wildly varying response times of Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire departments and found a chronically inefficient system that hadn’t changed substantially since the days of horse-drawn trucks and bucket brigades. His sleuthing prompted legislative hearings and the passage of bills aimed at quickening response and saving lives, as well as public questioning of the dependence on volunteers instead of professional municipal services.

"Desperate Journey" (PBS/WETA-TV)
PBS NewsHour
Reporting on the men, women and children fleeing Syria and other Middle Eastern war zones, NewsHour’s "Desperate Journey" series captured the life and breadth of the worst displaced person crisis since World War II: the initial, inspirational hospitality of European hosts, the eventual resistance as the waves of humanity became overwhelming, and the hopes and horrors experienced by the refugees themselves.

"Do Not Track" (donottrack-doc.com)
Upian, National Film Board of Canada, Arte, Bayerischer Rundfunk, CBC/Radio-Canada
Visiting "Do Not Track" may leave you feeling like a moth in a spider web. Focused on Internet economics and privacy issues, the website’s personalized episodes provide a wealth of provocative information about the science of cookies, tracking and who is profiting from your social media participation. The user is shocked at the breadth of information he or she regularly gives up in the course of routine and mundane activities across digital and mobile platforms.  

"European Migrant Crisis/A New Life in Europe/The Year of Migration" (BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio)
BBC
The BBC reminded us why it’s the gold standard of electronic-media news with its wide-ranging, richly detailed, deeply humane television and radio reporting about the reality and ramifications of the surge of millions of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe.

"Meet the Composer" (WQXR.org)
WQXR’s Q2 Music
Fascinating, intelligent, enlightening podcasts devoted to the work of current classical composers. The show integrates music with thoughtful conversation about it without distracting from either.

"911: Lost on the Line" (WXIA-TV)
WXIA-TV, NBC, Atlanta
Inspired by a single 911 call for help that failed fatally, WXIA reporter Brendan Keefe launched an ambitious, enterprising multimedia probe that revealed government oversights and technical shortcomings in supposedly smart iPhones and telecommunications infrastructure that were causing needless deaths across the country.

"Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields" (HBO)
Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel
Reporting from the Congo, Tanzania and Kenya, Real Sports documented the billion-dollar, criminal enterprise that is the ivory trade, the sickening slaughter of elephants that fuels it, the devotion and bravery of rangers trying to protect them and the delusion of trophy hunters who insist the money they bring to Africa somehow slows the decimation.

"Secret Mustard Gas Experiments" (NPR)
NPR News
Horrifying and infuriating although, alas, not surprising, this unforgettable report documented the U.S. Army’s testing of an abominable chemical weapon on some 60,000 of our own World War II soldiers, most of whom were black.

"The Case for School Desegregation Today" (This American Life)
"This American Life"
In a collection of powerful, personal stories about the nexus of education and race, “This American Life” weighs the statistical benefits of desegregation against the pressure, even humiliation, that many minority students experience. The two-part broadcast is a bold, honest examination of what can happen when social engineering meets reality.

"The LaQuan McDonald Investigation" (WMAQ-TV)
WMAQ-TV, NBC, Chicago
Launching its probe six months before a Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald, WMAQ’s relentless, unrivaled reporting brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies, and contributed to a police department shake-up.

The 75th Peabody Awards, based at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, will be handed out May 21 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

As previously announced, David Letterman, documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart also will be honored at the ceremony. Letterman and Nelson will be recognized for their contributions to electronic media, while The Daily Show With Jon Stewart will receive an institutional Peabody.

The ceremony, hosted by Peabody winner Keegan-Michael Key, will air June 6 at 8 p.m. as a 90-minute special on Pivot.

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