Peabody Awards

Peabody Awards
The Peabody Award is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism, which includes radio, television and online media. One of the oldest media awards, it was inaugurated in 1940 and named for American businessman and philanthropist George Peabody who donated the funds that made the awards possible.

The Peabody Awards were conceived as a Pulitzer Prize counterpart for outstanding achievement in radio broadcasting. A committee to recognize distinguished achievement by radio stations was formed by the National Association of Radio Broadcasters in 1938.

Committee member Lambdin Kay came up with the idea and asked John E. Drewry, the first dean of the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, to endorse his initiative. The Peabody Award was officially established in 1940 and named for the person who devoted much of his fortune to social enterprise and education.

The Peabody Awards were originally presented only to radio programs and performances. With the development of television, television awards were introduced in 1948. In 1981, a Peabody Award was awarded to a cable program for the first time. Categories for materials distributed via the Internet were added in the late 1990s.

The Peabody Awards judging process has been characterized as unusually rigorous. Award winners are chosen from more than 1,000 entries by some 30 committees composed of representatives from the Grady College of Journalism and other higher educational institutions across the United States. They recommend a number of entries to the Peabody Board of Jurors composed of media industry professionals, scholars and critics. Only unanimously selected winners receive an award.

For a long time, the Peabody Awards didn’t have an official ceremony. Recipients were announced via a press release and/or a press conference. However, in recent years organizers have decided to raise public awareness of the award. The first Peabody Awards ceremony was held in May 2015, with American actor and comedian Fred Armisen hosting the event.

The 2020 and 2021 ceremonies were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the winners were announced online.

Peabody Awards

Photo: Jemal Countess,




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