FRONTLINE Wins Two Inaugural Peabody-Facebook Awards

May 5, 2016
by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

A still from "Inheritance" (left) and "Ebola Outbreak," FRONTLINE's two Peabody-Facebook Award-winning digital projects.

In a push to honor innovative digital storytelling in addition to traditional forms of broadcast and electronic media, the prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards today launched a new prize called the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award — and two of the five inaugural winners are projects by FRONTLINE.

Inheritance, FRONTLINE’s multimedia exploration of filmmaker Ken Dornstein’s grief over the death of his brother David in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was selected as one of the top five stories in digital spaces. The project — told through a collection of David’s belongings that Ken inherited when he died — wove audio of David’s voice with interactive visual and text elements. It was produced by Michelle MiznerChris Amico and Jeff Soyk.

Also selected was Ebola Outbreak, a FRONTLINE virtual reality documentary produced in collaboration with the content studio Secret Location and Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Filmed on 360-degree cameras in West Africa, the documentary by filmmaker Dan Edge took viewers on an immersive journey into the heart of the worst Ebola outbreak on record. The film is available on  FacebookGoogle Cardboard, and GearVR.

“We are so thrilled that two of the five inaugural Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award winners are FRONTLINE digital projects,” said FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “We’ve been working hard to tell stories creatively in new forms, new ways and new places, applying the same journalistic standards we bring to our linear, long-form documentaries. We’re grateful to the Peabody Awards and to Facebook for this recognition. We couldn’t do any of this work without the support of our audience, our funders at PBS and CPB, and WGBH.”

“This recognition of our work in the digital space is exciting and gratifying,” added Sarah Moughty, FRONTLINE Digital Managing Editor. “It’s a pleasure to work with such talented thinkers, producers, developers and journalists.”

The award’s three other winners were One Year in Ferguson from St. Louis Public Radio, Life is Strange from Don’t-Nod Entertainment and Halal in the Family from Sweet180 Productions.

The Peabody-Facebook Award is a new and separate prize from the traditional Peabody Award. The winners were selected by 16 University of Georgia honor students who work with the Peabody Award program.

“These award winners represent the cutting edge of how stories can be told in digital spaces,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards, in an announcement on Thursday.

“The pace of innovation in digital storytelling is inspiring and these winners demonstrate some of the possibilities to leverage new technologies,” said Andy Mitchell, director of global news and media partnerships at Facebook, in today’s announcement.

The Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award winners will be honored in New York on May 20, 2016 at a ceremony that will be streamed on Facebook Live. FRONTLINE will also be honored at the 75th annual Peabody Awards ceremony the following day for the documentary ISIS in Afghanistan.

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