For the first time in the group’s 80-year history, Peabody is embracing the West Coast as the best coast.
On Tuesday, the organization announced the historic change in venue, which will see the Peabody Awards celebration taking place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a departure from previous ceremonies held in New York City, as well as far from program’s home base at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, located in Athens, GA.
“As the country struggles to find its footing in challenging times, the power of media narratives becomes paramount. Peabody provides a much-needed role as curator of the best stories that should be watched and heard, especially as the media landscape continues to evolve and becomes even more crowded with content and distribution platforms,” Executive Director of Peabody Jeffrey Jones said in a statement. “Moving the ceremony to Los Angeles reflects the evolution of Peabody’s commitment to celebrating the meaningful and significant narratives about pressing social issues, right in the world’s capital of content creation.”
The Peabody Awards are among the most prestigious honors bestowed upon work created within electronic media, aimed at celebrating “the most intelligent, powerful and moving stories told in broadcasting and digital media.” Peabody’s stated mission is to lift up emerging voices, diversity, and social issues, devoid of marketing or lobbying, celebrity, popularity, or any of the common tactics to game-ify accolades. The awards aim to celebrate media that transcends the simply commercial and reaches the level of art, engaging in complicated and complex narratives, full of empathy and reflective of the world in which we live.
A total of 60 nominees are selected by the Peabody Board of Jurors, which includes critics, journalists, industry professionals, and scholars. Nominations are granted in a number of categories, including documentary, entertainment, children’s, and youth programming, and news and radio/podcast. The nominees are ultimately narrowed down to 30 winners, with awards being distributed at the official ceremony.
But as exciting as the move sounds, the traditional Peabody celebration has been malleable in recent years, slowly but surely developing into an official event. It was just 2015 when the ceremony switched to a red-carpet evening event, abandoning the luncheon the group favored for years and a far cry from the days when the winners were simply announced via press release or press conference.
Still, it’s a big move for an organization endeavoring to raise the profile of its already prestigious prizes. Nominees for Peabody Awards will be announced in April, with winners revealed in May. In order to earn a nomination, a project must receive a unanimous vote by the jurors. This year’s ceremony will be held Thursday, June 18, 2020.