A little piece of Peabody
May 1, 2015
The Peabody Award, which my team at Round Earth Media was part of this year, was put into perspective at the supper table. "We won a Peabody," I announced. The kids snickered. My wife looked blank. In the US, the Peabody Award is one of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism. Sort of the Oscars of radio and TV reporting. Or the Tonys of reporting in general. But not even a boy scout badge with my people, it seems.
The team that I work with at Round Earth Media, along with Latino USA, Radio Progreso and numerous other contributors, won for a documentary about gangs and migration in Honduras. Reporters Iolany Perez, German Andino, Gerardo Chevez and Marlon Bishop spent two weeks interviewing people forced off the land by gangs, taxi drivers threatened with death, children fleeing and deported in a grueling look at exactly what is driving tens of thousands of Hondurans from their country. The part I played was small: I proposed and developed some of the topics, did preliminary interviews with experts and others on the ground, and hired the local journalists. I chose them partly for their contacts and familiarity with the subject matter, but also because I enjoyed talking with them on the phone. We laughed and chatted about soccer and food -- and very little about journalism -- for almost an hour. They sounded like eager, warm and interesting people. They would be working closely together in a stressful situation, and they would all need to get along. And they did. Individually, they all told me afterwards how much they enjoyed working together.And the experience led to a deep, detail-rich documentary.
The Hondurans didn't have much to say about the Peabody, never having heard of it. But they were all pleased to think that the crisis in their country might receive more attention in the US thanks to an award which, let's face it, does have a pretty silly-sounding name.
Here's a press story in Spanish about the win.