WHY PEABODY MATTERS
Respected for its integrity and revered for its standards of excellence, the Peabody is an honor like no other for television, podcast/radio, and streaming media. Chosen each year by a diverse Board of Jurors through unanimous vote, Peabody Awards are given in the categories of entertainment, documentary, news, podcast/radio, arts, children’s and youth, and public service programming. Beginning in 2023, Peabody will expand its mission, awarding interactive and immersive projects including in the fields of virtual reality, augmented reality, interactive documentary and journalism, social video, and co-creation.
The annual Peabody winners are a collection of stories that powerfully reflect the pressing social issues and the vibrant emerging voices of our day. From major productions to local journalism, the Peabody Awards shine a light on the Stories That Matter and are a testament to the power of art and reportage in the push for truth, social justice, and equity.
As we continue to struggle for progress amid polarizing division, the power of media narratives is paramount. The Peabody Awards elevate stories that defend the public interest, encourage empathy with others, and teach us to expand our understanding of the world around us.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
Jeffrey P. Jones is the Lambdin Kay Chair and Executive Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia. Jones became only the fifth director of the Peabody Awards in 2013. Prior to that, he was Director of the Institute of Humanities at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Auburn University.
Under Jones’s leadership, television specials celebrating Peabody-winning stories have been broadcast nationally for six of the past seven years, most recently on PBS. He also established the first-ever Boards of Directors (for both the East and West Coasts), comprised of top-level media entertainment industry executives, as well as journalists, documentarians, radio/podcasters, public media and foundation executives, scholars and media impact partners. He also founded the Peabody Futures of Media Award recognizing digital storytelling excellence. In fall 2016, Jones oversaw the relaunch and rebranding of the Peabody Media Center, the scholarly research center and digital media production arm of the Peabody organization.
Professor Jones is the author and editor of six books, including “Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Civic Engagement,” “Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era,” and “The Essential HBO Reader.” Most recently, co-edited with Ethan Thompson and Lucas Hatlan, is “Television History, the Peabody Archives, and Cultural Memory” through the University of Georgia Press. His research and teaching focuses on popular politics, or the ways in which politics are engaged through popular culture. He is a member of the Entertainment and Media Studies Department in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. He hails from Auburn, Alabama.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bruce M. Ramer (Chair)
Partner, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown
Co-Head of Talent, ICM Partners
Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max
Senior Vice President, Programming, Hearst Television
Global Head of Original Content, YouTube
Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Television Group
President, ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, Hulu
Senior Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP
Executive Vice President of Television, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group
President, ARRAY Alliance
Executive Chair, HiddenLight Productions
Charles D. King
Founder & CEO, MACRO Television Studios
Co-President, United Talent Agency
Head of Television and Managing Partner, Creative Artists Agency
Kristie Macosko Krieger
Film and Television Producer, Amblin Partners
Chief Creative Officer, CBS and Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks, ViacomCBS
Partner and Head of Television Content, A3 Artists Agency
Head of Television, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Head, Amazon Studios
Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Content Officer, Netflix
President, CBS Studios
Zack Van Amburg
Head of Worldwide Video, Apple
John Huey (Chair)
Chair, East Coast Peabody Board of Directors
Founder, CEO and Co-Executive Editor, DailyChatter
Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director, NPR
Caty Borum Chattoo
Director, Center for Media & Social Impact, American University
Founder, Katie Couric Media
Maria Cuomo Cole
Founder, Cuomo Cole Productions
CEO, Vice Media
Vice President, Policy & Philanthropy, Americas, Twitter
Founder and President, STORYCORPS
President and CEO, PBS
President, Entertainment & Youth Brands, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, Viacom
CEO and Producer; Founder, TEDWomen & Chair, Sundance Institute board
President of Content, National Geographic Global Networks
Head, MTV Documentary Films, MTV Studios
Founding Director, The Race Card Project; Columnist, The Washington Post & Former NPR Host
Chief Executive Officer, Soledad O'Brien Productions
Malika Saada Saar
Senior Counsel, Civil and Human Rights, Google
Producer; Co-creator of 30 for 30 ESPN series
Regina K. Scully
Founder and CEO, Artemis Rising Foundation
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Pillars Fund
President and CEO, WNET New York Public Media
President, Firelight Media
BOARD OF JURORS
Monica Pearson (Chair)
Monica Pearson, the first woman and first minority to anchor a 6 p.m. newscast in Atlanta, retired in 2012 after 37 years with WSB-TV. She now hosts a weekly radio show on KISS 104.1 FM, hosts a weekly show “A Seat at the Table” on Georgia Public Broadcasting, and continues her “Closeups” interviews on wsbtv.com/monica. She has received numerous accolades and honors for her TV work, including 33 local and regional Emmys. In March 2012, the bi-partisan Georgia delegation to the U.S. Congress honored her on the floor of the U.S. House as “a true pioneer and a trailblazer in television news.” She has taught part-time at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. In addition to degrees from the University of Louisville and the University of Georgia, she holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), Oglethorpe University, American Bible University, and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College.
Lorraine Ali is a television critic with The Los Angeles Times where she covers media, culture and American Muslim issues. Ali is an award-winning journalist who before joining the Times in 2011 was a culture writer and music critic with Newsweek and a senior critic with Rolling Stone. Ali was one of a few prominent female pop music critics in American journalism who rose to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, SPIN, GQ and The Hollywood Reporter, and her “West Bank Hard Core” feature was published in Da Capo’s “Best Music Writing” anthology. She’s appeared as an expert voice on radio and television programs including NPR, Oprah, Charlie Rose, CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. Her writing awards include Best Online Feature from the New York Association of Black Journalists, an Excellence in Journalism Award from the American Arab Journalists Association, and Music Journalist of the Year from the Music Journalism Awards.
Dr. Manuel Betancourt
Manuel Betancourt is a Colombian-born film and television writer. He is a contributing editor at Film Quarterly, where he publishes his column, “Cineando,” all about Latin American cinema, and a regular contributor to Electric Literature, where he focuses on book-to-film adaptations. His work has been featured in The New York Times, BuzzFeed Reader, Vulture, The Los Angeles Times, Film Comment, Esquire, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books and Vice, among others. Betancourt is the former Film & TV editor at Remezcla. He is the author of “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” as well as one of the contributing writers of Chad Sell’s critically acclaimed graphic novel “The Cardboard Kingdom” and its sequel. Betancourt is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; GALECA, The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics; as well as a founding member of LEJA, Latino Entertainment Journalists Association. In 2019 he was selected to be the Writer in Residence at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary and Story Edit Lab. Betancourt holds a doctorate degree in English Literatures from Rutgers University.
Vanessa K. De Luca
Vanessa K. De Luca currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of The Root, overseeing the publication’s editorial vision and content creation across all platforms. Most recently she served as the Editor-in-Chief of ZORA magazine and helmed ESSENCE magazine. An award-winning journalist and co-author of the bestselling beauty and empowerment book Tyra Banks Beauty Inside & Out, she has been a featured guest on several national television networks, including NBC’s TODAY Show, CBS This Morning, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN and more.
Hannah Giorgis is a staff writer at The Atlantic. In a recent cover story, “The Unwritten Rules of Black TV,” Hannah presented a definitive look at Black representation behind the camera, and the progress and roadblocks for creators whose voices have too long been ignored. Her essays, criticism, and reporting have appeared in publications including the New York Times magazine, New Yorker, The Guardian, Bon Appétit, and Pitchfork. She has written short stories for publications including the Lifted Brow literary journal, Spook magazine, and the Addis Ababa Noir anthology. Hannah was the 2018 Yoojin Grace Wuertz Writers of Immigration and Diaspora fellow at the Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat. Most recently she co-wrote Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells with Wells’ great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, and edited the inaugural collection of essays for Shea Serrano’s Halfway Books project, about rap albums including Lil’ Kim’s Hard Core, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, and The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death.
Dr. Herman Gray
Herman Gray is a former radio producer and jazz announcer whose interest in media, culture, and politics is wide ranging. Gray is professor of sociology at University of California-Santa Cruz, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media and television studies, cultural theory and politics and black cultural studies. Gray’s research is on the role of television, media and culture in organizing, sustaining and challenging racial projects. He has published widely in scholarly journals in the areas of black cultural politics, media and television studies. His books on jazz, television, and black cultural politics include “Producing Jazz,” “Watching Race,” “Cultural Moves” and “The Sage Handbook of Television Studios,” which he co-edited.
Karen Hall is a veteran television writer, producer, and creative consultant. She has worked on numerous series including Peabody Award-winners “M*A*S*H,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Roseanne” and “The Good Wife.” Additional credits include “Moonlighting,” “Grace Under Fire” and “Judging Amy.” She also wrote individual episodes for “Northern Exposure,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Cupid” and HBO’s “Maximum Security.” Hall’s TV movies and miniseries writing includes “Toughlove,” “The Betty Ford Story,” “The Women of Brewster Place” and “Darkness Before Dawn.” She has received seven Emmy Award nominations, as well as the Humanitas Prize, the Women in Film Luminas Award, and the Writers Guild of America Award. Her novel, “Dark Debts,” recently republished, was a Book of the Month Club main selection when first published in 1996.
Dr. Dana A. Heller
Dana A. Heller is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Prior to that, she was Eminent Scholar and Louis I. Jaffe Professor of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She holds a B.A. from Goddard College, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in American literature from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author/editor of eight books and numerous articles on topics related to television, popular culture, media, and gender and sexuality studies. She was the recipient of Fulbright Fellowships in Russia, Bulgaria, and Belarus, and an exchange fellow in Osaka through the Japanese American Studies Fund.
Michael Isip is President & CEO of KQED, the San Francisco Bay Area’s PBS and NPR media resource. Isip has a quarter century of media experience and has played a critical role in KQED’s growth and transformation into a multimedia organization. He joined KQED in 2001 as a Television Executive Producer and has served in a number of senior roles, including Senior VP & Chief Content Officer and Executive VP & Chief Operating Officer. Prior to KQED, Isip led production at KVIE Public Television, Sacramento. He started his career at WLS-TV, Chicago. Isip is a senior fellow for the American Leadership Forum — Silicon Valley and serves on the boards of Public Radio Exchange, American Documentary Inc., Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Isip has a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from DePaul College of Law.
Simon Kilmurry became executive director of the International Documentary Association in 2015 after an illustrious tenure as executive producer of POV, the long-running, much acclaimed PBS showcase for documentaries, and executive director of American Documentary, POV’s non-profit parent organization. Under his leadership, American Documentary was the recipient in 2013 of a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Kilmurry was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Columbia University Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. POV documentaries he has executive-produced have won numerous honors, including six Peabodys, a Primetime Emmy, 17 News & Documentary Emmys, three DuPont Columbia Awards, and two Overseas Press Club Awards.
Wonya Lucas is president and chief executive officer of Crown Media Family Networks. Lucas oversees the company’s portfolio of entertainment brands, including linear networks Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama; subscription video on demand service Hallmark Movies Now; and publishing division Hallmark Publishing. Prior to joining Crown Media in August of 2020, Lucas was president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she oversaw Atlanta’s NPR (WABE) and PBS (ATL PBA) stations. Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of TV One, where she became the second African American woman to hold the president and chief executive officer role at a cable television network. Prior to joining TV One, Lucas held several positions at Discovery Communications, including executive vice president and chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and global chief marketing officer, which entailed oversight of marketing in 210 countries and over 130 networks. Before joining Discovery Communications in 2008, Lucas served as general manager and executive vice president of The Weather Channel Networks, where she was responsible for corporate strategy and development and strategic marketing for The Weather Channel, Weather Channel radio and weather.com. She joined The Weather Channel Networks from Turner Broadcasting System, where she acted in a variety of roles, including senior vice president of strategic marketing for CNN (cnn.com, CNN radio, CNN Networks Worldwide and HLN); vice president of business operations and network development for TNT and TBS; and vice president of entertainment marketing for TNT Entertainment properties. Earlier in her career, Lucas spent several years in various brand management roles for The Coca-Cola Company and Clorox. She received an MBA in Finance and Marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and BS Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mike Monello is a true pioneer when it comes to immersive storytelling and innovative marketing. In the late 1990s, Monello and his partners at Haxan Films created The Blair Witch Project, a story told across the burgeoning internet, a sci-fi channel pseudo-documentary, books, comics, games, and a feature film, which became a pop-culture touchstone and inspired legions of “found-footage” movies in its wake. It forever changed how fans engage with story and how marketers approach the internet. Inspired by the possibilities for engaging connected fan cultures and communities online, Monello co-founded Campfire in 2006. There, he leads an agency that has developed and created groundbreaking participatory stories and experiences for HBO, Amazon, Netflix, Cinemax, Discovery, National Geographic, Harley-Davidson, Infiniti, and more. Campfire won Small Agency Campaign of the Year via AdAge in 2013 and Small Agency of the Year via Online Marketing Media and Advertising Awards in 2012, and has been awarded top honors at the Cannes Lions Festival, Clios, One Show, MIXX, and the Emmys. Monello regularly speaks at high-profile events such as Advertising Week, SXSW, Digital Hollywood, and more.
Dr. Aswin Punathambekar
Aswin Punathambekar is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. With interests ranging across radio, film, television, and digital media, his research and teaching focus on the impact that globalization and technological change have on the workings of media industries, formations of audiences and publics, and cultural identity and politics. Based on research in India, the U.K., and the U.S. he has written and co-edited several books including “From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry,” “Media Industry Studies,” and “Television at Large in South Asia.” He serves as an editor of an international peer-reviewed journal Media, Culture and Society, and co-edits the Critical Cultural Communication book series for NYU Press. Punathambekar holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia.
Nicholas Quah is the podcast critic at New York Magazine’s Vulture and a contributing critic at NPR’s Fresh Air. One of the earliest journalists dedicated to covering the podcast industry, he is also the founder of Hot Pod, widely considered to be a leading trade newsletter covering the podcast business, which was sold to Vox Media. Originally from Malaysia, he has a B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and was a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2017.
Kent Rees is an industry-leading digital and content marketing strategist. He is currently the general manager and chief marketing officer for FAST Studios, a company that owns and operates ad-support streaming TV networks. Prior to that, he was the Chief Marketing Officer for Pop TV and the EVP and General Manager of Pivot. Mr. Rees went to NYU Film School and has been an adjunct professor at Emerson College since 2018.
Mark Ruffin is the program director of the Real Jazz channel on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Before that he spent over 25 years as a fixture in jazz broadcasting and journalism in Chicago, winning two Emmy Awards for his efforts to bring stories about jazz to television on WTTW-TV. Mr. Ruffin worked as the jazz editor for Chicago Magazine and has written hundreds of articles on jazz, broadcasting and African-American culture. In 2020, Mr. Ruffin released his first book, Bebop Fairy Tales: A Historical Fiction Trilogy on Jazz, Intolerance and Baseball.
John Seigenthaler is an award-winning communications professional and recognized as one of the most skilled “storytellers” in the broadcast industry. He helps clients tell their stories creating visual and thought-provoking narratives that positively impact target audiences. Seigenthaler, a former NBC News anchor, develops strategic communications plans for corporations and high-profile C-level executives. His expertise spans crisis communications, social media strategy, media interview direction/training and video production. Seigenthaler is a former partner at Seigenthaler Public Relations, now DVL Seigenthaler, a Finn Partners Company. As an award-winning journalist, Seigenthaler anchored “NBC Nightly News Weekend” edition for almost a decade.
Diana Williams (Chair)
Diana Williams has a wide range of experience in the entertainment industry. She develops IP and produces creative content for distribution across storytelling media. Throughout her career she has been at the forefront of working with emerging and established talent to ensure that all voices are included in an ever-evolving industry.
She is the co-founder of Kinetic Energy Entertainment, a multi-media development and production company. Kinetic Energy’s project slate includes the cross-platform storyworld of The Gatecrashers, Sermons Beyond Sunday podcast based on Ureeka/1863 Ventures focus on entrepreneurs of color (the New Majority), epic fantasy Crimson, and recipe-memoir Adventures in Starry Kitchen.
An award-winning producer, she produced the critically acclaimed feature film Our Song, which earned her a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award in the Producer category. Other credits include documentaries Room 237, the Emmy© award-winning Sylvia Drew Ivie, Student Academy Award©-nominated Another First Step, Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, and Dear Mom Love Cher.
In addition to producing, Diana has a wide range of experience in the entertainment industry. She was the Creative Development and Franchise Producer at Lucasfilm within the Story Group, the team responsible for developing and maintaining narrative cohesion and connectivity throughout the Star Wars universe. While at Lucasfilm, Diana developed film and tv (including Star Wars Rebels, Rogue One), mobile and console videogames (including 2015’s Battlefront), publishing (Marvel’s Star Wars comics and novel expansions), and was a member of the team that launched ILMxLAB, an immersive entertainment and mixed reality laboratory, with projects including Vader Immortal (writer: David Goyer), Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire for The Void, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Academy Award© winning experience Carne y Arena. She was also a production consultant for BET on Let the Church Say Amen (director: Regina King), Gun Hill Road (creator/director: Reggie Rock Bythewood), and Untitled Kenya Barris Project (creator: Kenya Barris). She also held the position of Executive Vice President of Content at MWM.
Diana began her career in production as an Assistant Director and is a current member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Diana is also a Sundance New Frontier fellow and advisor and is currently the Chairperson of the Interactive Board for the Peabody Awards (this is a newly formed board to be announced early summer 2021). She is on the Strategic Planning Committee of The National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange; the advisory committee for the Royal Shakespeare Company/Digital development (Dream: A Midsummers Night Experience just announced) and Future of Film; and the boards of Diverso (a non-profit organization by students for students, dedicated to empowering the underrepresented storytellers of the next generation), The Overlook Film Festival, and Here/No Proscenium Summit. She is also a member of the Auntie Sewing Squad, a volunteer network of people across the U.S. that sew and distribute masks for free to First Nations, immigration organizations, and local communities in need.
Diana is a graduate of Georgetown University and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Recent speaking engagements:
Lars Bastholm is an experienced creative leader whose career spans brands (Google), traditional agencies (Ogilvy) and digital agencies (AKQA). He has managed large teams across multiple geographies and cultures as well as built teams from scratch. He is passionate about technology, brands and storytelling. His work as a creative director has garnered many international awards, including 3 Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Lars has contributed to four books about the digital advertising industry published by Taschen, and he is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences as well as The Producers Guild of America.
Lars is a film buff who also enjoys karaoke, science fiction, and fine cuisine. He is currently the Chief Creative Officer at Story House Egmont in Copenhagen.
Jay Bushman writes for many kinds of media, working at the intersection of traditional and emerging formats. He won an Emmy Award for his work as a writer and transmedia producer on ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” an interactive adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and was the co-creator of the interactive sequel show, “Welcome To Sanditon.”
Jay is the author of “Novel Advice: Practical Wisdom for your Favorite Literary Characters.” He’s contributed to interactive campaigns and experiences for Disney, Paramount, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix. For his experimental work in social media storytelling — including writing one of the first Twitter novels — he was dubbed as “The Epic Poet of Twitter.” by New Scientist Magazine, and as an “Enterprising Fabulist” by Vanity Fair.
Dr. Aymar Jean Christian
Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is an associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern University. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television on New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including the International Journal of Communication, Television & New Media, Social Media & Society, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, among others. He has juried television and video for the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others. His work has been recognized by the Field & MacArthur Foundation (Leaders for a New Chicago, 2019), Filmmaker Magazine (25 New Faces of Indie Film, 2018) NewCity (Chicago’s Film Hall of Fame, 2020), Chicago magazine (New Power List, 2021).
Dr. Christian co-founded OTV | Open Television, a research project and platform for intersectional television. OTV programs have received recognition from HBO, the Television Academy (Emmy Awards), Webby Awards, Streamy Awards, Gotham Awards, among others. Its programming partners have included the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Sundance Institute, and the city of Chicago, along with numerous galleries, community organizations, and universities.
Building on the success of OTV, he co-founded OTV Studio with Stephanie Jeter and Lilly Wachowski. OTV Studio is an incubator for intersectional film & television, developing artists and producing their short-form content to accelerate discovery and long-form development with an array of mission-aligned studios, production companies, and institutional partners.
He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.
Katerina Cizek is a Peabody and two-time Emmy-winning documentarian. She is the artistic director and co-founder of the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab. At the studio, she wrote (with Uricchio et al.) the world’s first field study on co-creating media called Collective Wisdom (forthcoming with MIT Press). For over a decade, Cizek worked as a documentary director at the National Film Board of Canada, transforming the organization into a world-leading digital hub, with the projects HIGHRISE and Filmmaker-in-Residence. Both community-based and globally recognized, these two ground-breaking long-form digital projects garnered international awards and critical acclaim. Cizek is a member of the Directors’ Guild of Canada, has served as an advisor at the Sundance Institutes’ New Frontier Lab and Stories of Change Program as well as CPH:DOX and ESoDoc. She is a founding member of the Guild of Future Architects, a member of the editorial collective at IMMERSE.
Gabriel J.X. Dance
Gabriel J.X. Dance is the deputy investigations editor at The New York Times focusing on the nexus of privacy and safety online. Previously, Dance was part of a team of journalists that reported on the data-sharing practices at Facebook and the bot economy on Twitter, was involved in the reporting on Donald Trump’s taxes, and was a founding managing editor at The Marshall Project. Dance has undergraduate degrees in computer science and technical journalism from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was among a group of journalists at The Guardian who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of widespread secret surveillance by the N.S.A..
Yasmin Elayat is an Emmy-award winning immersive director, United States Artists 2020 Fellow, and Co-Founder at Scatter, an immersive company pioneering Volumetric Filmmaking. Yasmin directed Scatter’s Zero Days VR (Sundance 2017) a documentary about cyber warfare and the Stuxnet virus, which won the Emmy for Original Approaches: Documentary. Yasmin is the co-creator of 18DaysInEgypt, which was lauded as one the Moments of Innovation in Participatory Documentary. Yasmin is a co-director of The Changing Same trilogy. Episode 1 premiered at Sundance 2021 and won “Best Immersive Narrative” at Tribeca Festival. Yasmin’s work has won multiple awards and exhibited at various festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SIGGRAPH, Festival de Cannes, and the World Economic Forum.
President, New Media Division
A thirty-year veteran of the game industry, Amy Hennig has served as Creative Director and Lead Writer on numerous titles, including Naughty Dog’s acclaimed Uncharted series and Crystal Dynamics’ groundbreaking Soul Reaver / Legacy of Kain franchise. She recently announced a partnership with Skydance Media to explore new frontiers in interactive storytelling.
Navid Khonsari, is the co-founder of iNK Stories, an award-winning studio creating impact-forward original work across games, mixed reality (VR/AR) and immersive experiences, and has forged a new hybrid of documentary-games: ”Verite Games.” Drawing upon personal history Khonsari created 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, which received the industry’s top honors: a BAFTA, Facebook Game of the Year, Tribeca FF Storyscape, among others, and was recognized by UNESCO as a digital solution for peaceful conflict resolution. Khonsari is credited with having ushered in the current wave of contemporary AAA video games, such as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, Red Dead Revolver, and The Warriors, up to the recent Resident Evil: Biohazard. He is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, and guest lectures at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern in Qatar, White House, UN, Sundance and more.
Opeyemi Olukemi is the executive director of the Center of Documentary Studies (CDS), anchored in Durham, North Carolina. Throughout her career as an interactive producer, funder and public programmer, Olukemi has created spaces and pipelines for interdisciplinary artists, communities, and creative teams to experiment and create meaningful innovative content. Olukemi has previously led teams at POV Spark, served as the Senior Director of Interactive Programs for Tribeca Film Institute and has produced projects for ScrollMotion. Olukemi has served on numerous international festival juries and has mentored through IDFA’s Doc Academy, New Museum’s NEW INC, Oculus’ VR for Good, Sundance’s New Frontier Lab and the Venice Biennale College Cinema, and was also an assistant professor of Integrated Media at Brooklyn College’s Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Olukemi is a proud Rockwood (Ford Foundation) JustFilms Fellow.
Al Shaw is a developer and reporter who has been working in digital news for over a decade. He is an editor on the News Applications team at ProPublica where he uses data and maps to tell interactive stories about the environment, natural disasters and politics. His work has been honored with a Peabody Award, a gold medal from the Society for News Design, multiple silver medals from Malofiej and a Sigma Delta Chi Award from SPJ. He is a two-time Livingston Award Finalist and was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Kamal Sinclair, is making the world more beautiful as the Executive Director of the Guild of Future Architects and artist at Sinclair Futures. She served as an External Advisor to the MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism & Media Program, a Creative Advisor to For Freedoms (the largest collective art project in US history), a member of Sharon Chang’s Family Office (Dream Office of Imaginary Friends) and as a board member of MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality and Eyebeam.
Previously, was the Director of Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Labs Program for seven years, which supports artists working at the convergence of film, art, media and technology. She partnered with Chief Curator, Shari Frilot, in the development and platforming of landmark projects in the evolution of story, including experimentations with bio media, XR, iOT and AI as storytelling mediums.
During that period, she consulted for the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms program on a multi-year research projects aimed at furthering equality in emerging media, which resulted in the landmark work “Making a New Reality,” which has been published through Immerse.news and sparked a four year speaking tour at some of the most prestigious tech and media companies, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and social justice community initiatives. Currently, the research is informing a developing documentary (The Radical Imagination Project), a book and a game/toolkit for the field of emerging media practitioners and organizations.
Sundance Institute was both a resource and inspiration for the research, then an early adopter of specific recommendations that emerged from the research regarding the need to break silos between art, science and technology. Currently, she is consulting their collaboration with Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts to explore the future of identity in an AI integrated future at the intersection of these fields.
Johns Hopkins University’s Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technology Center and NYU Tisch’s Future Imagination Fund engaged Sinclair in consulting projects to translate the learning from the research into programs and centers within their organizations to democratize the imagination of the future in a just and equitable manner, as well as optimize human creativity as we design social and cultural systems for exponential technologies. Both university initiatives are in exciting development phases to implement the strategic plans developed during her engagement.
Sinclair got her start in emerging media as an artist and producer on Question Bridge: Black Males. At Question Bridge, where she and her collaborators launched a project with an interactive website and curriculum; published a book; exhibited in over sixty museums/festivals; won International Center for Photography’s 2015 Infinity Award for New Media; and was archived at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Earlier in her career, Kamal was a Transmedia Producer at 42 Entertainment and worked on projects such as Legends of Alcatraz for J.J. Abrams, Mark of the Spider-Man and Random Acts of Fusion; as Principal at Strategic Arts Consulting, and the Artistic Director of Universal Arts. Her career began as a cast member of the Off-Broadway hit STOMP.
Sara Thacher is a Creative Director and Senior R&D Imagineer at Walt Disney Imagineering. In this role, she works with engineers, computer scientists, architects, artists, and inventors to fashion new technology into revolutionary guest experiences. Sara has worked on numerous projects with a focus on creating experiences that invite guest participation, interaction, and play. Her work at Imagineering R&D includes leadership on the upcoming Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser two-day immersive experience and the TEA Award winning Haunted Mansion: Ghost Post. Previously, she served as Executive Producer and Designer at Nonchalance where she co-created the groundbreaking experience, The Jejune Institute.
An alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, Lance Weiler is recognized as a pioneer in mixing storytelling and technology. Wired magazine named him “one of 25 people helping to reinvent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” He was nominated for an International Emmy in digital fiction for his work on Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy. His collaboration with David Cronenberg entitled, Body/Mind/Change premiered at the TIFF Lightbox and went on to win the American Alliance of Museums’ Jim Blackaby Ingenuity Award. Lance co-created Frankenstein AI, a multi-year project that explores humanity’s relationship to artificial intelligence through storytelling, performance and immersion. Frankenstein AI was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and later was commissioned by the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio and IDFA Doc Lab. Weiler’s most recent work entitled, Where There’s Smoke had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The 1,400 sq ft experience became the first off-site installation to ever be staged at the festival. IndieWire wrote “Over 100 movies screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, but one of its best offerings lets you walk inside the frame and experience a story from the inside out.” Lance is currently touring Where There’s Smoke and is developing the project into a limited TV series and YA novel.
Lance is a Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University School of the Arts where he is jointly appointed in Film and Theatre. He co-founded the School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab and since 2013 has served as its director leading and shaping the lab’s vision and programming.
Dr. Benjamin Stokes (ex officio)
Benjamin Stokes is a civic media scholar, game designer, and director of The Playful City Lab. He is also an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication, and at the AU Game Center. Previously, he co-founded Games for Change, the movement hub for advancing social change with games. At the MacArthur Foundation prior to academia, Benjamin was a program officer in their portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. Benjamin has also worked at the UC Berkeley School of Information as a postdoctoral scholar in data science. Design experience in civil society includes leading teams at NetAid/Mercy Corps in global citizenship education. His new book is Locally Played: Real-World Games for Stronger Places and Communities (MIT Press, 2020).
HISTORY OF THE AWARDS
As radio rose in popularity in the late 1930s, The National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to establish a prestigious award similar to the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in broadcasting. Lambdin Kay, manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta, asked John Drewry, dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism, to sponsor the awards, upon the recommendation of Lessie Smithgall, a graduate who worked at the station.
The first awards were issued in 1941 for excellence in radio programming broadcast in the previous year of 1940.
George Foster Peabody (1852-1938), a Georgia native, was a successful investment banker, and as of 1906, a social activist. Peabody was a supporter of women’s suffrage, free trade, and black education in the American South. Contrary to popular belief, the Peabody Awards were not established through an endowment or provisions in Peabody’s will, but named after him posthumously in recognition of his contributions to the University of Georgia at large. The Peabody Award medallion was commissioned by his family and designed by sculptor Evelyn Beatrice Longman. Peabody is sometimes confused for George Peabody (1795-1869), who was also a banker and philanthropist.
- John Drewry
- Worth McDougald
- Barry Sherman
- Horace Newcomb
Serving on the Peabody Board of Jurors offers the rare opportunity to help set the highest standards for the media industries.
Over the last 77 years, jurors have included such luminaries as Alfred A. Knopf, Bennett Cerf, John Daly, Newton Minnow, Liz Carpenter, Barbara Jordan, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault.
As part of the third largest audiovisual archive in the United States, the Peabody Awards Collection consists of over 90,000 titles, with radio programs dating from 1940 and television from 1948. The Collection contains radio transcription discs, audiotape, 16mm kinescopes and prints, 2″ video reels, video cassettes, and objects associated with past award entrants. Many of the programs in the collection may be only surviving copies of the work, especially in the case of local radio and television broadcasting. The Collection is managed by the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries.
Press kits, scripts, and correspondence submitted with the entries are housed in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
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