FRONTLINE Honored with 2020 Peabody Institutional Award
BOSTON – (June 10, 2020) Boston public media producer WGBH has been recognized with three George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in broadcasting in 2019, including the prestigious Institutional Award for the documentary series FRONTLINE. WGBH’s Children’s Media and Education team was honored for the children’s program Molly of Denali and FRONTLINE was also recognized for the Academy Award-nominated documentary For Sama.
“The distinguished Peabody Awards reflect the highest standards of broadcast and digital media that bring to light the issues that matter today,” said WGBH president and CEO Jon Abbott. “This recognition of both FRONTLINE and Molly of Denali is a testament to the important work of these teams, committed to representing a diversity of voices and exploring critical topics that might otherwise go overlooked.”
Each year, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors honors the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media. Peabody Awards are bestowed upon a curated collection of stories that capture society’s most important issues. Sixty nominees were selected from approximately 1,300 entries from television, radio/podcasts, and the web in entertainment, news, documentary, children’s and public service programming. Thirty of these entries were honored with a Peabody award.
The WGBH’s Children’s Media and Education team was honored for MOLLY OF DENALI, the first nationally distributed children’s series with an Alaska Native lead character. The action-adventure comedy follows resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, who helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in interior Alaska. She and her friends explore the epic surroundings and rich Native culture that is home. Like many kids today, Molly is conversant with all forms of technology and has a vlog where she shares her discoveries with others.
“Molly of Denali’s animated series, podcast and games have been embraced by audiences everywhere,” said Executive Producer Dorothea Gillim. “We are grateful to the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors for this honor, which is shared with the entire team that brought Molly and her family, friends, and community to life.”
Over 60 Indigenous writers, advisors, producers and musicians are involved across the production, which is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop informational text skills through video content, interactive games, and real-world activities.
”The stories we tell through Molly of Denali are a reflection of the heart and values of Alaska Native peoples -- our truths, our histories, and our experience,“ said Creative Producer Princess Daazhraii Johnson. “For the first time, our children are able to experience the joy in seeing themselves reflected in a positive light and this is why representation truly matters.”
In awarding the Institutional Award to FRONTLINE, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors recognized both its robust output of films with a diversity of filmmakers as well as its efforts in digital media, embracing new forms of journalism, developing virtual reality and web-based stories and launching “THE FRONTLINE DISPATCH,” an investigative podcast series.
“It is a tremendous honor to have the breadth of our work recognized by the Peabody Awards, and we are humbled to be this year’s Institutional Peabody recipient,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “In these tumultuous times, fair, truth-seeking journalism is invaluable. We are grateful to our courageous producers and reporters for their commitment to sharing these stories with the American public, and to WGBH, PBS, and CPB for always championing our storytelling.”
FRONTLINE was also recognized with a Peabody Award in the Documentary category for For Sama. The epic, Academy Award® -nominated feature documentary directed by filmmaker Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts offers a gripping, first-person account of one woman’s experience of the Syrian conflict. Documenting her life over five years of the uprising in rebel-held Aleppo, al-Kateab falls in love, marries one of the last practicing doctors in the city, gives birth to Sama, and says goodbye to her beloved — and besieged — home, all on camera. For Sama aired on FRONTLINE in November 2019 following a decorated theatrical release in the summer of 2019 by PBS Distribution. The feature documentary is produced by Channel 4 News and ITN Productions for Channel 4 and FRONTLINE (PBS).
“We are elated to also see For Sama continue to be acknowledged — an incredible distinction we share with Waad, Ed, and our partners at Channel 4, Channel 4 News and ITN Productions,” Aronson-Rath adds.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub, a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content, and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.