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‘Serial,’ Vice, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC Among Peabody Award Winners

The American Public Media-backed podcast “Serial” became the first of its format to win one of the coveted Peabody Awards, which recognize excellence in television and radio.

Vice News, CNN, National Public Radio and WNYC Radio all won two of the awards, which are based at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The winners in the Peabody’s news category are listed below, along with commentary from the organization as to why the award was granted. The Peabody Awards for documentary, public service, education, and children’s programming will be announced Thursday, April 23.

Betrayed by Silence (MRP)

Minnesota Public Radio News

This sobering investigative documentary took listeners inside the child sex-abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, uncovering among other things how the archbishop who headed of the committee that wrote the U.S. Catholic Church’s landmark abuse policy – the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People – not only failed to follow it but participated in cover-ups.

Chris Christie, White House Ambitions and the Abuse of Power (WNYC Radio)

WNYC/New Jersey Public Radio

In a series of pithy news reports about the “Bridgegate” scandal, WNYC helped to link a disruptive bridge closure to a broader pattern of questionable political operations by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office. Its coverage sparked national news attention, high-profile resignations in the Christie administration, and criminal investigations into the Port Authority.

The Cost of Troubled Minds (KVUE-TV, Austin, TX)

KVUE News, ABC 24

Reporter Andy Pierrotti’s heavily documented investigation of Texas’ mental-health care policies demonstrated that the state’s penny wisdom has been profoundly pound foolish. Cutbacks and indifference ending up costing taxpayers more.

 CNN’s Coverage of Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls

CNN

CNN approached the Boko Haram kidnapping horror from many angles, even moving Isha Sesay’s daily show to Abuja to raise the profile of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Sesay’s tough, live-TV interviewing, along with high-risk field reporting of Nima Elbagir, Arwa Damon and other CNN journalists, made the network’s coverage comprehensive and indispensable

 CNN Investigative Reports: Crisis at the VA

CNN

High-impact journalism, CNN’s investigation into delays in care at Veteran Affairs hospitals exposed a systemic VA breakdown, eventually leading to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the passage of federal legislation, and a dramatic change in how veterans’ medical appointments are made, recorded and reported.

ISIS – Continuing Coverage (NBC, MSNBC)

NBC News, MSNBC

Reports on NBC and MSNBC about the rise of ISIS had an unsurpassed depth, contextualization and clarity thanks in large part to NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, whose years of experience in the Middle East proved invaluable.

The Islamic State (VICE News)

VICE News

Journalist Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks filming inside the self-proclaimed caliphate of the Islamic State, and his resulting VICE News reports are remarkably up-close and enlightening, sometimes surreal, sometimes terrifying.

 Last Chance High (VICE News)

VICE News

Students at Chicago’s idyllic-sounding Montefiore Therapeutic Day School are actually one mistake away from jail or a mental hospital. This dramatic series of web reports and podcasts delved sympathetically but unsentimentally into their lives, contextualizing their problems and giving them a chance to speak.

 NPR’s Latino USA: Gangs, Murder, and Migration in Honduras (NPR)

Futuro Media Group, Round Earth Media, Radio Progreso, Freelance Producers

Vivid and scary, this hour-long report by Maria Hinojosa and “Latino USA” producer Marlon Bishop makes it clear why large numbers of Hondurans seek to escape the violence back home and enter the U.S.

Reporting From The Frontlines: The Ebola Outbreak (NPR, npr.org)

National Public Radio

NPR had a reporter in Guinea in early April, months before even world health officials understood the magnitude of the Ebola threat, and its coverage throughout 2014 was unsurpassed in scope and variety: insightful reports that didn’t feature just Western experts, but also doctors, nurses, government officials from the heart of where Ebola was breaking out.

Serial (www.serialpodcast.org)

Serial/This American Life/Chicago Public Media

A audio game-changer, this compelling, multi-episode podcast closely examined the evidence against an 18-year-old facing a life sentence for murder, illuminating disturbing flaws in the justice system along the way. The first unquestionably mainstream podcast, it has been downloaded nearly 60 million times.

 60 Words (WNYC Radio)

WNYC

A “Radiolab” collaboration with Buzzfeed reporter Gregory Johnsen, it takes a hard, disturbing look at the broad, malleable wording of the Authorization of Use of Military Force Act, approved by near-unanimous Congressional vote shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and how its interpretation has expanded military power and secrecy.

State of the Re: Union (NPR and PRX)

State of the Re: Union and WJCT Public Broadcasting, Jacksonville

The great news about SOTRU is that it purveys good news– not soft, sugarcoated features but grassroots reporting that demonstrates how everyday people, both rural and urban, are figuring out ways to tackle their communities’ problems.

Under the Radar (Scripps Washington Bureau)

Scripps Washington Bureau

Mark Greenblatt’s outstanding, exhaustive investigative review of court martial cases uncovered more than 240 convicted rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders who have slipped through loopholes that allow them to stay off public sex-offender registries when they leave the brig and return to civilian life.

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