Three Peabody Awards, In Three Very Different Genres, For CNN

By Alex Weprin Comment

The University of Georgia announced that CNN would receive three Peabody Awards, for its coverage of the Arab Spring, “CNN Heroes” and “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

For CNN, the three awards represented three different styles of television journalism, a fact not lost on executives there.

“When you look at some of the other award winners it is really the best of the best in television and radio, and we are obviously honored to be part of that company,” CNN executive VP Mark Whitaker told TVNewser. “I think it is particularly gratifying when you look at the three awards that we received.”

One was for CNN’s coverage of the Arab Spring. “CNN has continued to expand its international resources at a time when most other news organizations are cutting back, and we think that really paid off,” says Whitaker. “We also have shown a special commitment to covering the conflict in Syria which has been very difficult to cover because of the degree to which the government there is trying to keep journalists out.”

Whitaker says the award for Zakaria is gratifying in a different way.

Zakaria will be honored for his program “Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education” as well as for his commentary on Iran. Whitaker says it shows that CNN “can go in-depth in coverage of various issues.”

CNN’s third Peabody goes to the CNN Heroes annual event. “It is always nice to win three awards, but when you win three awards that reflect three different parts of your mission and your brand and what you are capable of, it is even more gratifying.”

CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton’s memo to staff, after the jump.

April 4, 2012

To: CNN Colleagues

From: Jim Walton


I’m pleased to share with you the news, announced this morning, that CNN will be honored with three George Foster Peabody Awards this year. The Peabody recognizes excellence, distinguished achievement and meritorious public service in journalism. Our three awards—a first in one year for CNN—are for our coverage of the Arab Spring, for Fareed Zakaria GPS and for CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.

These honors are the latest in a run of well-deserved recognition for our programming and our people, including:

• In a rare honor for a television news organization, the CNN Freedom Project documentary Death in the Desert won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award for coverage of organized crime or other criminal acts, a recognition of outstanding investigative reporting across all media.

• CNN was honored with six NAMIC 2012 Vision Awards nominations, including in the Documentary category, COMMON Dreams and Pictures Don’t Lie; in the Lifestyle category, Vive la Salud con Dra. Azaret: Autismo (CNN en Español); and in the News/Information category, Education Makeover with CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry, Freedom’s Foot Soldiers: A Conversation with TJ Holmes and Inside Africa-Phoenix: Sudanese Boys Reunited.

• Anderson Cooper 360 was honored by GLAAD with its Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine for The ‘Sissy Boy’ Experiments.

• CNN Worldwide picked up two Shorty Awards, honoring the best producers of short content on social media, for Best Use of Social Media for News and Best Use of Video for a Social Media Campaign: The Royal Wedding of William & Kate.

• CNN International was honored with a Gracie Award in the Outstanding Soft News Feature category for the network’s Because I’m a Girl series.

• CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen was honored with a Gracie Award for outstanding individual achievement as Reporter/Correspondent.

• The White House News Photographers Association honored three of our colleagues—John Bodnar, Bethany Swain and Khalil Abdullah—for The Eyes of History 2012 contest.

Congratulations to the honorees. I’m always pleased when our work is recognized, but no more so than I am to work alongside everyone at CNN every day.