4.01.2009

Peabodys recognize online work

This year's Peabody Awards reflect the ramped up online shift undergone by media in the past year, as YouTube, the Onion News Network and the New York Times web site.

The 36 winners of this year's award were announced today by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which oversees the awards. The awards recognize "the best in electronic media for 2008."

"The works recognized by the Peabody Board this year not only reflect great diversity of content and genre, but also true technical innovation and the varied roles of new distribution systems," said Peabody Director Horace Newcomb, in a release. "The list of winners this year clearly indicates a changing media environment that will continue to require judgment and evaluation through the Peabody Awards process."

In addition to the usual spate of television shows and documentaries, the awards this year reached into cyberspace to recognize digital excellence. The organization called YouTube "the video-sharing web site that puts a boundless array of video artifacts, from historic political speeches to cell phone videos, at every Internet user's fingertips," in honoring it with an award, while the Onion News Network was noted for it's "video parodies of newscasts and newsmakers (that) are so shrewdly conceived and produced that they're often hard to distinguish from the real thing."

The latter is a strange one coming on April Fool's Day, though it is not unprecedented -- Stephen Colbert has a Peabody or two as well.

"We recognize the great transformations affecting dissemination of news and information," Newcomb said in the release. "The variety of choices available to citizens does in fact range from the best traditional journalism expanded for the web, to sharp critiques in the form of parody and satire. Both can achieve a level of excellence that reaches the Peabody standard and both require citizens to respond with careful analysis of their own."

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