ATHENS, Ga. — Coverage of the Arab Spring dominated the Peabody Awards when the oldest honors in broadcasting were handed out Wednesday at the University of Georgia.
CNN, Al Jazeera English and National Public Radio received the prestigious award for their coverage of the pro-Democracy movements that led to leaders being unseated in the Middle East, including Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Two Japanese news outlets won for their coverage of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people and unleashed the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century.
CBS News won for reporting on Syria, where President Bashar Assad’s forces have violently cracked down on a yearlong uprising.
The awards recognize achievement and public service by TV and radio stations, individuals and the Internet. An awards ceremony for winners will be held in New York City on May 21.
The list of winners went far beyond news coverage, ranging from popular television shows to radio series to websites.
Peabodys were handed out to Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” IFC’s “Portlandia,” Showtime’s “Homeland” and the long-running quiz show “Jeopardy!” NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” was also honored.
Website TED.com received an award, as did BBC.com. Oral history project StoryCorps won for its 9/11 series on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. PBS’ “Austin City Limits” won an institutional Peabody Award for its 37 seasons on air. “The range of the Peabody Awards’ search for excellence has never been wider or deeper than this year,” said Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards. “Local news organizations covered stories with international import as well as those significant within their communities. Documentaries and news reports on issues missed or overlooked by big organizations were available on websites. Comedians engaged in political actions. Radio proved again the power of the individual human voice.”
In all, 38 awards were handed out this year.
Local news stations receiving awards include Phoenix’s KPHO-TV for a series about American soldiers and South Korea children exposed to Agent Orange three decades ago and KLAS-TV in Las Vegas for coverage of how the housing market collapse affected the city. A documentary about the 2004 assassination of Cambodian trade union leader Chea Vinchea won a Peabody.
The University of Georgia’s journalism school has administered the awards since 1940. All entries become a part of the Peabody Archive in the University of Georgia Libraries, one of the nation’s oldest archives.