Change Text Size
Email Columns Print page
Columns: The Online newspaper for the University of Georgia community
Show Index
October 28, 2013   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | Better reception
Magnify Jones, Jeffrey P-h.env 2013 Peabody Awards
Jeffrey Jones, director of the Peabody Awards Photo by Paul Efland

Better reception

Peabody Awards’ new director seeks greater national visibility for electronic media award

Aaron Hale

Senior reporter

Recent and archived articles by Aaron Hale

Columns staff
Media Relations, Division of Marketing & Communications
Work: 706-542-8024
By Aaron Hale | October 28, 2013

Jeffrey P. Jones, the new director for UGA's Peabody Awards program, said the award has been called the "Pulitzer Prize for electronic media" and a "crown jewel" for the university.

The Peabody Awards, which are administered through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious service by broadcasters, cable programmers and Internet-based producing organizations and individuals. The Peabody, which began in 1941, is the world's oldest award for electronic media.

While the Peabody Awards are already something for UGA to be proud of, Jones hopes to usher the awards to greater visibility in the national public consciousness.

"We very much want to bring Peabody squarely into the digital age," said Jones, who also holds the Lambdin Kay Chair in the Grady College. "We want to recognize winners not just by handing them a statuette, but by calling attention to their good work in a much more nationally prominent way."

Jones is a TV studies scholar who also has a background in teaching political communication and documentary. He joined UGA in July after serving as an associate professor at Old Dominion University and director of its Institute for Humanities.

Jones' writing has examined the intersection of TV and politics, which makes him no stranger to recent Peabody-winning TV shows such as The Wire, The Colbert Report and Homeland.

What distinguishes these programs, as well as other recipients in documentary, radio and webcasting, for Peabody Awards is not just their entertainment value and craftsmanship, Jones said, but also their value to educate and offer new perspectives on the world around us.

"It is a reward that recognizes excellence, but it's excellence that helps us be better citizens," Jones said.

Jones uses the example of HBO's The Wire, a show that ran for five seasons in the 2000s and covered the failures of social institutions in Baltimore.

"What's significant with a show like that is it's an entertainment program. People have an emotional relationship with characters and they listen, follow, watch and begin to understand this situation over the course of a few years," Jones said. "That's very different from a journalist report on TV news in which you pay attention to a story for maybe four minutes and then it's on to the next report or a commercial."

In other words, the programs produced by Peabody winners encourage viewers to think more broadly and more in-depth about civic matters over a longer period of time.

This kind of recognition makes the Peabody Awards an anomaly in media scholarship, according to Jones.

"Scholars often have a critical eye on media. We talk about how media might increase violence in society or we look at how it may not serve democracy well," he said. "The Peabody Awards are somewhat the opposite of that. We are highlighting media at their best; how media might help us be empathetic as well as more knowledgeable about our world and its myriad problems and challenges."

As director of the awards program, Jones is primarily responsible for guiding the adjudication.

Over a three-month period, a 15-member board judges more than 1,000 entries and narrows them to 35 or so winners.

Winners are announced each March. After the announcement, the director facilitates the process of crafting the awards presentation show in New York in May. When the awards process is over each year, Jones said, the Peabody Awards should continue to foster discussion about current and past award winners.

In September, the Peabody Awards highlighted the work of the U.S. Supreme Court-centered blog and 2013 Peabody winner SCOTUSblog by hosting a forum covering topics touched by the groundbreaking website. That daylong forum featured notable experts on the Supreme Court and news media. The program aired on the cable network C-SPAN.

The Peabody Awards also are hosting a series this fall called Peabody Decades, which are screenings that highlight American cultural history through past Peabody winning and nonwinning submissions housed in the Peabody Archives.

That program takes advantage of a vast media collection started 72 years ago. The Peabody Awards house the third largest repository of radio, television and electronic media in the U.S.

These programs not only garner interest on campus from a variety of disciplines, Jones said, but they also can help build Peabody's national reputation.

That reputation, he said, is important to UGA and the role it plays in housing the awards.

"The fact that the University of Georgia would be the one bestowing such a prestigious award on so few winners every year really calls attention that universities are places that recognize the best a society or civilization has to offer," Jones said.

More from this issue

  • October 28, 2013

    Study examines connection between advertising, bad news

    When a firm becomes the subject of a news story, its stock price usually is affected. Whether positive or negative, newly publicized details about a company tend to attract investor attention and move the stock price based on the article's sentiment. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    New partnership to help grow local agriculture, economy in Fulton County

    A diverse agricultural hub is thriving just minutes from downtown Atlanta in the area surrounding the city of Chattahoochee Hills. To help with the growth, UGA Extension recently developed a new position for a Fulton County agriculture and natural resources agent. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    Telecommunications professor wins regional Emmy Award

    Nate Kohn, a telecommunications professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and associate director of the Peabody Awards, was presented an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Mid-America chapter. The ceremony took place in St. Louis on Oct. 5. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    Political theorist discusses loss of freedom in Parthemos Lecture

    Quentin Skinner, a pre-eminent political theorist and intellectual historian, delivered the 2013 George S. Parthemos Lecture about freedom on Oct. 17 to a standing room audience in the Larry Walker Room of Dean Rusk Hall. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    VP for development and alumni relations search underway

    UGA President Jere W. Morehead has appointed a committee to coordinate a national search for the university's next vice president for development and alumni relations. The committee will recommend finalists to succeed Tom Landrum, who will be retiring at the end of the academic year on June 30 after nearly 40 years of service to the institution. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    A time for giving: Annual effort to raise money for charities kicks off

    The Campaign for Charities has begun its two-month drive to collect pledges and money for local, state and national charitable organizations.  Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    Picture of health

    For most of his life, two things have been dominant forces in Brad Upchurch's life: medicine and the Georgia Bulldogs. Now as manager of the University Health Center's pharmacy, both of Upchurch's lifelong passions are combined.  Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    ‘No place like Homecoming’

    "There's No Place Like Homecoming" is the theme of this year's Homecoming Week festivities, which begin Nov. 3. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    Noteworthy research

    In August, the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts launched its Faculty Research Clusters initiative, which UGA President Jere W. Morehead has said "will play an important role" in highlighting the arts and humanities at the university and attracting research funding, "a critical goal" of his administration.  Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    New drug combo may help treat parasitic infection

    UGA researchers have discovered that a combination of two commonly prescribed drugs used to treat high cholesterol and osteoporosis may serve as the foundation of a new treatment for toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. They published their findings recently in PLOS Pathogens. Continue

  • October 28, 2013

    Two COE faculty appointed to Aderhold Professorships

    Two UGA professors, Donna E. Alvermann and Denise A. Spangler, have been appointed to endowed faculty positions in the College of Education. The endowed positions are named for the late UGA President Omer Clyde Aderhold and his late daughter, Elizabeth (BeBe) Aderhold, who served as a faculty member in childhood education. Continue

Columns is produced by the University of Georgia | Division of Marketing & Communications | Feedback