Peabody Award Winners Include ABC News, CNN… And Stephen Colbert?

0403colbert.jpgThe Peabody Awards are described by a writer at the Chicago Tribune as doing “a much, much better job of honoring excellence in television than the Emmy organization ever has.”

Which is why it’s newsworthy that among a list of winners that included ABC News (for a Bob Woodruff special), BBC World News America and CNN (for the God’s Warriors series), The Colbert Report received a Peabody Award.

Here’s the Peabody nominating staff’s reasoning for nominating the Colbert Report:

“Let none dare call it “truthiness.” Colbert, in his weeknight Comedy Central send-up of politics and all that is bombastic and self-serving in cable-news bloviasion, has come into his own as one of electronic media’s sharpest satirists.”

Colbert <a href="responded:

“I proudly accept this award and begrudgingly forgive the Peabody Committee for taking three years to recognize greatness. On a personal note, I’d like to say that I’ve long been a fan of Mr. Peabody, as well as his boy Sherman.”

Also noteworthy: The only programming to receive Peabody Awards this year that were not news programs or documentaries… 30 Rock (“a sly, gleeful satire of corporate media”), Project Runway (“a series that redeems the reality-contest genre) and Mad Men (an “exemplary period dramatic series”).

The Peabody Awards will be presented on June 16 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Brian Williams will be master of ceremonies.

A full list of winners after the jump.

30 Rock Universal Media Studios in association with Broadway Video Television and Little Stranger Inc.

Tina Fey`s creation is not only a great workplace comedy in the tradition of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” complete with fresh, indelible secondary characters, but also a sly, gleeful satire of corporate media, especially the network that airs it.

Art:21 – Art in the 21st Century Art:21, Inc.

Trusting artists to speak for themselves and viewers to “get” what they talk about, the PBS series provides a unique forum for the display, analysis and appreciation of myriad forms of contemporary visual art.

Speaking of Faith: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi American Public Media

Delving into the “adventurous, cosmopolitan” Islam of a 13th century Persian poet now enjoying revival worldwide, this public-radio series continues to illuminate connections among people of all faiths.

Bob Woodruff Reporting: Wounds of War – The Long Road Home of Our Nation`s Veterans ABC News

Severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, Woodruff made wounded veterans and their struggle with recovery and red tape his special focus and served them well with his sensitive, dogged reporting.

Money for Nothing, The Buried and the Dead, Television Justice, Kinder Prison WFAA-TV

The Dallas station distinguished itself with not one but four investigative series in 2007, probing dubious practices by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the Texas Railroad Commission, a police department that got too cozy with a TV sexual-predator sting operation and a Homeland Security Prison holding immigrant families.

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial NOVA/WGBH Educational Foundation, Vulcan Productions Inc., The Big Table Film Company

The centerpiece of this thoughtful, topical edition of NOVA was the recreation, verbatim, of key testimony and argument from a six-week trial in Pennsylvania that served as a crash course in modern evolutionary theory, the evidence for evolution and the nature of science.

Whole Lotta Shakin` Texas Heritage Music Foundation

A red-hot retrospective of rockabilly music, this 10-part series distributed by Public Radio International blended rare interviews, archival radio broadcasts and foot-stomping tunes by obscure practitioners as well as legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

White Horse BBC World News America, BBC America, BBC World

Uncommonly beautiful for a nightly news feature, but no less trenchant for being artful, it captured a rustic, sleepy inland village on the verge of obliteration by the Chinese government in its attempt to further the country`s economic miracle.

Just Words The Center for Emerging Media

Marc Steiner`s 55 weekly radio reports, four minutes each, gave voice to marginalized people – low-wage workers, recovering drug addicts, the homeless – who rarely get to speak for themselves in the mainstream media and, in doing so, made common social issues immediate and personal.

CNN Presents: God`s Warriors CNN

In six hours over three nights, CNN explored how rising fundamentalist disenchantment with the modern, secular world has affected Judaism, Islam and Christianity in sometimes similar but also different ways.

Dexter Showtime, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions

With a premise that questions our fondness for avenging heroes – a serial killer who channels his dark urges into police forensics and the killing of other sociopaths – this Showtime series is a masterful psychological thriller and a complex and ambiguous meditation on morality.

Planet Earth Discovery Channel, BBC

Awesome, spectacular, humbling, exhilarating – pick your effusive adjective – the 11-part series documented the natural wonders of our world, some familiar, others never before seen, in stunning high-definition clarity.

CBS News Sunday Morning: The Way Home CBS News

Two unflinchingly candid women who lost limbs while serving in the military in Iraq were the centerpiece of this powerful, thought-provoking report by correspondent Kimberly Dozier, a recovering war casualty herself.

Fight for Open Records WTAE-TV

The Pittsburgh station`s relentless legal campaign to obtain public records of a state-run student loan program netted evidence of financial misconduct and pushed the state to rewrite an antiquated right-to-know law.

To Die in Jerusalem HBO Documentary Films in association with Priddy Brothers

The anguish of the Israeli-Palestine conflict was embodied in this frank documentary about two mothers who lost their respective teenaged daughters, one a suicide bomber, the other her victim.

Design Squad WGBH Educational Foundation

Created to inspire boys and girls in their `tweens and teens to consider an engineering profession, this lively, fast-paced series puts an educational emphasis into the reality-competition television format.

Craft in America: Memory, Landscape and Community Craft in America Inc.

This three-hour chronicle of America`s rich, ongoing traditions of weaving, quilting, woodworking and other craft art was as carefully wrought and as beautifully shot as its subject matter.

Univision`s Ya Es Hora Univision Communications

More than a million legal Hispanic immigrants sought U.S. citizenship as the result of Univision`s multi-faceted campaign to explain the benefits and responsibilities of becoming citizens and how to go about applying.

NATURE: Silence of the Bees Partisan Pictures, Inc., Thirteen/WNET New York

The first in-depth investigation of an alarming, world-wide die-off of honeybees, this documentary underscored the critical role of these pollinators to our food supply and surveyed the forensics that have yet to solve the mystery.

A Journey Across Afghanistan: Opium and Roses Balkan News Corporation – bTV

Surprising and visually distinctive, this Bulgarian news network`s road trip yeilded a rare, everyday Afghan perspective on the fighting between Taliban and western troops, while revealing fascinating efforts to supplant the growing of opium poppies with rose bushes to produce rose oil.

The MTT Files American Public Media, San Francisco Symphony

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas brought his wealth of knowledge and idiosyncratic insight to bear on subjects as diverse as Igor “Firebird” Stravinsky and James “Cold Sweat” Brown in this delightful, surprising public-radio series.

Project Runway Bravo, The Weinstein Company, The Magical Elves, Full Picture

A series that redeems the reality-contest genre, this face-off competition among upstart fashion designers demands, displays and ultimately rewards creativity that can`t be bluffed.

Taxi to the Dark Side Jigsaw Pictures, Tall Woods, Wider Film, ZDF/ARTE

The brutal death of an Afghani cab driver while in U.S. military custody gave director Alex Gibney the central thread of his searing exploration of detainee interrogation techniques and who, ulimately, bears responsiblity.

Security Risks at Sky Harbor KNXV-TV

This Phoenix station`s unnerving expose of outrageous lapses in baggage-screening at the city`s main airport shook up the Transportation Security Administration all the way to Washington, D.C.

Wait, Wait…Don`t Tell Me! National Public Radio, Chicago Public Radio, Urgent Haircut Productions

A zippy update of one of broadcasting`s long-ago staples, this live quiz show reminds listeners of the week`s news even as host Peter Sagal and various panelists make witty sport of it.

Independent Lens: Sisters in Law Vixen Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Directors Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi make viewers flies on the wall of a small-town courthouse in Cameroon overseen by two dynamic, wisecracking, larger-than-life sisters – one the court`s president, the other its state prosecutor – who are helping women stand up to abuse.

Virginia Tech Shooting: The First 48 Hours WSLS-TV

Covering the the worst mass shooting in United States history and its immediate aftermath, the news staff of this station in Roanoke, Virginia, demonstrated knowledge of their community, mastery of their journalistic craft and remarkable, much-needed calm.

The Brian Lehrer Show: Radio That Builds Community Rather Than Divides WNYC Radio

Lehrer`s talk show is a wide open yet shrewdly managed forum in which every sort of political, social and cultural issue is consdiered and where New Yorkers, in all their diversity, can get to know each other.

Nimrod Nation Sundance Channel, Public Road Productions, Wieden and Kennedy

The subject of Brett Morgen`s lyrical, unhurried, eight-part exploration of small town life is Watersmeet, Michigan, a folksy hamlet reminiscent of Mayberry and Lake Wobegone, but undeniably, hearteningly real.

FRONTLINE: Cheney`s Law FRONTLINE, Kirk Documentary Group, Ltd., WGBH-Boston

In a strongly researched and reported hour that sometimes played like a political thriller, “FRONTLINE” traced the Bush Administration`s expansion of Presidental wartime powers to a determined, secretive campaign by the Vice President, that stretches back three decades.

mtvU: Half of Us mtvU

Responding to studies that have shown that nearly half of all college students have experienced bouts of disabling depression, mtvU created an impressive, multi-platform campaign that includes public-service spots and a comprehensive website where students can get information, advice, even upbeat music.

Independent Lens: Billy Strayhorn – Lush Life Robert Levi Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS), Washington Square Films

Along with celebrating the work of the often overlooked arranger and composer (“Take the A Train”) who was crucial to Duke Ellington`s sound and success, the documentary senstitively explored the homophobia that kept Strayhorn in the shadows.

CBS News 60 Minutes: The Killings in Haditha CBS News, 60 Minutes

This thorough, open-minded investigation of the worst single killing of civilians by American troops since Vietnam put not just the incident into better perspective but the entire Iraq War and the terrible choices it presents both solidier and civilian.

Mad Men AMC, Lionsgate Pictures Television

The way they were on Madison Avenue, in the Manhattan towers and the bedroom communities of New York, circa 1960, is recalled in rich detail and a haze of cigarette smoke in this exemplary period dramatic series.

The Colbert Report Hello Doggie Inc., Busboy Productions, and Spartina Productions

Let none dare call it “truthiness.” Colbert, in his weeknight Comedy Central send-up of politics and all that is bombastic and self-serving in cable-news bloviasion, has come into his own as one of electronic media`s sharpest satirists.