What do Vladimir Putin, Lorne Michaels, Tibetan nomads, Dr. Who, a Japanese children's show, and Lena Dunham all have in common? They all caught the eye—as subject, storyteller, or both—of this year's Peabody Awards committee. The 72nd Annual Peabodys were just announced this morning at the University of Georgia, honoring excellence in "electronic media." That's a pretty wide-ranging group of film, TV and radio shows, and news programs to choose from, which is how documentaries about the Sri Lankan killing fields end up on the same roster as a one-hour special from a stand-up comedian.
But why take our—or the Peabody's—word for it? What if you actually want to see, read, or hear what was so special about these award winners. Well, almost all of the winning entries are avaiable online in one form or another, and many of them are completely free to the public. Below is an guide on the best place to find and enjoy each of this year's award winners.
The list is broken out by general categories and tells you what won, why it won (descriptions are written by the Peabody announcement), and where you can check it out for yourself. Get surfing.
WHAT: Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (Documentary Channel HD)
WHY: "A fascinating exploration of the mentality of war-zone reporters and the toll their dangerous, chosen work can have on them."
WHERE: Available on Netflix Instant.
WHAT: Why Poverty? (PBS)
WHY: "Eight films, each distinctive in tone and style, give us parallax views of poverty today and through the ages."
WHERE: Available for free on PBS.org.
WHAT: MLK: The Assassination Tapes (Smithsonian Channel)
WHY: "Painstakingly configured from rare footage collected at the University of Memphis in 1968, the documentary relives the events leading up to the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and its aftermath."
WHERE: Available for sale on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. (Preview clips available on YouTube.) UPDATE: The filmmakers wrote to let us know that there are free options as well: The full documentary can be seen on YouTube; the Smithsonian Channel website, or even the Smithsonian Channel mobile apps.
WHAT: Reel Time: Salat (Bone Dry) (GMA News TV)
WHY: "This unflinching portrait of a widow with six mouths to feed personifies a brutal statistic: two out of 10 Filipino children are malnourished."
WHAT: Sheikh Jarrah, My Neighborhood (Al Jazeera)
WHY: "A Palestinian teenager whose family is evicted from an East Jerusalem neighborhood by Israeli settlers finds unexpected allies in this honest, hopeful documentary."
WHERE: Available for free at JustVision.org
WHAT: The Loving Story (HBO Documentary Films)
WHY: "A fresh, poignant reconsideration of the now almost unthinkable arrest and prosecution of Richard and Mildred Loving in 1958 for the “crime” of interracial marriage."
WHAT: Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present (HBO)
WHY: "Like the “godmother of performance art” herself, this film about Abramović and her Museum of Modern Art retrospective is performative, challenging and provocative."
WHAT: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished (Channel 4, UK)
WHY: "Combining amateur film and “trophy” videos with the results of a three-year reporting effort, the filmmakers document the civilian death toll – as high as 40,000 – of Sri Lanka’s civil war."
WHERE: Available on Channel4.com (Registration required)
WHAT: Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile (ITV UK) and Banaz: An Honour Killing (ITV UK)
WHY: "A hard-hitting pair of ITV films examines two different cultural horrors in Great Britain, the first the predatory sexual perversity of beloved TV icon, the second the murder of an independent-minded Kurdish-British girl by her own family."
WHAT: Putin, Russia & The West (BBC2 UK)
WHY: "How a former KGB spy made himself the Czar in the Grey Flannel Suit – and what his reign has meant for the United States and Europe – is detailed in this monumental four-part documentary."
WHERE: Available to buy on iTunes
WHAT: Independent Lens: Summer Pasture (PBS)
WHY: "A rare account of Tibet from the inside, this unhurried, quietly powerful film focuses on one nomadic family and through them illuminates an entire culture’s struggle with nature’s hardships and China’s oppression."
WHERE: Available on iTunes or DVD.
WHAT: Ford Escape: Exposing a Deadly Defect (KNXV-TV, Phoenix)
WHY: "Investigating a teenager’s car-crash death, KNXV’s five-month investigation revealed an acceleration problem that inspired a federal inquiry and the recall of more than 700,000 SUVs."
WHERE: Extensive coverage of the story (including video reports) is available on ABC15.com
WHAT: Deception at Duke (CBS News, 60 Minutes)
WHY: "This meticulous “60 Minutes” report documented the failure and possible fraud behind a much ballyhooed experimental cancer treatment by a Duke University doctor."
WHAT: Superstorm Sandy (ABC News)
WHY: "ABC’s exemplary coverage of the monster storm was enabled by the 20-20 foresight with which it deployed its journalistic resources, including embedding a reporting team with a family in Breezy Point, New York."
WHERE: Much of the network's coverage is archived at ABCNews.com
WHAT: Investigating the IRS (WTHR-TV, Indianapolis)
WHY: "WTHR’s station’s stunning investigation exposed not only how illegal immigrants were bilking billions in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service but also how the IRS had known of the scamming and failed to stop it."
WHERE: The whole series of reports is archived at WTHR.com.
WHAT: Joy in the Congo (CBS News, 60 Minutes)
WHY: "This beautiful, inspirational report about Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, a Congolese orchestra and chorale with 200 members, sounded a note of hope for a war-ravaged nation."
WHERE: Full 60 Minutes segement is available online at CBSNews.com
WHAT: Investigating the Fire (KMGH-TV, Denver)
WHY: "After a controlled burn by the Colorado State Forest Service turned deadly, KMGH reporters uncovered mistakes and miscommunication that resulted in legislative changes that will compensate the victims and guard against future tragedies."
WHERE: The full 45-minute news special is available at TheDenverChannel.com
WHAT: Rapido y Furioso (Fast &Furious) (Univision)
WHY: "The scope and human impact of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ infamous, ill- conceived gun-tracking program was enlarged and made clearer by the Mexican perspective of Univsion’s exhaustive reporting."
WHERE: Available (in Spanish) on Univision.com
WHAT: Breaking News: Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School (WVIT-TV, West Hartford, CT)
WHY: "The first TV-news outlet to report the horrendous shooting spree at Sandy Hook, WVIT broadcast careful, comprehensive coverage that informed not only its own audience but viewers around the country."
WHERE: WVIT's Sandy Hook coverage is archived at NBCConnecticut.com.
WHAT: CNN's Coverage Inside Syria & Homs 2012 (CNN)
WHY: "As political unrest in Syria disintegrated in civil war, CNN’s news teams provided unmatched eyewitness documentation, analysis and context."
WHAT: Southland (TNT)
WHY: "Shot on location in Los Angeles neighborhoods both posh and blighted, focusing on characters whose personalities have become more nuanced by the season, it’s a gritty, weekly ride-along, as convincing as cop drama gets."
WHERE: Airs Wednesdays on TNT. The four most recent episodes are available at TNTDrama.com. Seasons 1-4 are available on DVD.
WHAT: Switched at Birth (ABC Family)
WHY: "What could be a reality-show premise – two families discovering their teenage daughters, one of whom is deaf, were switched at birth – is explored with honesty, imagination and humor in this superior family series."
WHERE: Season 1 (30 episodes!) is available on Netflix Instant. The first part of Season 2 is on iTunes, second half of the season begins airing in June.
WHAT: D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List (Comedy Central)
WHY: "In this provocative satirical documentary, the comedian goes on a crusade to get American black men the same EPA protections afforded snail darters."
WHERE: Available to buy on iTunes
WHAT: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO)
WHY: "Covering 2012 stories as diverse as fan-on-fan violence, NFL painkiller abuse and the lethal hazing of a Florida A&M drum major, Gumbel’s show continued to be one of TV’s finest news magazines, period."
WHERE: Recent episodes and clips from this past season are available on HBO Go or HBO on Demand (with an HBO subscription.)
WHAT: Game Change (HBO)
WHY: "A behind-the-scenes account of what happened after John McCain picked Alaska’s charismatic, combative governor to be his running mate, it’s a story worthy of Euripides and Robert Ripley."
WHERE: Available on HBO Go and DVD.
WHAT: Doctor Who (BBC America)
WHERE: "Seemingly immortal, 50-years-old and still running, this engaging, imaginative sci-fi/fantasy series is awarded an Institutional Peabody for evolving with technology and the times like nothing else in the known television universe."
WHERE: The current incarnation of Dr. Who (which began in 2005) airs on Saturdays on BBC America. Previous seasons are available on Netflix Instant and DVD, although there are dozens and dozens of earlier specials, movies, and earlier versions of the character that have been released. Counting all previous renditions of the show, there are more than 700 total episodes dating back to 1963.
WHAT: Louie (FX)
WHY: "Louis C.K.’s self-reflective, shape-shifting series about a single, show-biz dad is daring and endearing, scandalous and sensitive, a milestone of comedic reach and candor."
WHERE: Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix Instant and DVD. Season 3 is available on iTunes.
WHAT: Girls (HBO)
WHY: "Creator/star Lena Dunham’s singular, decidedly unglamorous take on sex and the single girl and the city reverberates with anxiety, angst, insight and rueful humor."
WHERE: The first two seasons are available on HBO Go (if you already subscribe to HBO.) Season 1 is out on DVD.
WHAT: Syria 2012 (NPR)
WHY: "Finding ways to get deep into Syria even after their official visas were revoked, NPR’s Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos delivered detailed reportage, often from dangerous locations.
WHERE: NPR has highlighted all the best of McEvers and Amos's reports on their website.
WHAT: Teen Contender (NPR’s All Things Considered)
WHY: "Vivid in its personal insights and ambient sound, this engaging radio diary documented the quest of 16-year-old Claressa Shields to box for the U.S. team in the 2012 Olympics."
WHAT: This American Life: What Happened at Dos Erres (WBEZ Radio)
WHERE: "Though this masterful documentary illuminates a larger event, a Guatemalan civil-war massacre, its dramatic heart is the astounding story of a child survivor of the 1982 atrocity who learns the man he believed to be his father had in fact been commander of the military unit that wiped out most of his village."
WHERE: The full episode (along with all TAL episodes) is archived for free online.
WHAT: Inside the National Recording Registry (WNYC/Public Radio International)
WHY: "These are marvelous micro-documentaries, each one presenting a registry inductee – Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” score, for instance, or Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina” – and describing how and why it was chosen."
WHERE: The entire series is available for free at Studio360.org.
WHAT: The Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC FM & AM)
WHY: "Lopate presides over New York’s most revered radio forum for exploring the arts, cultural affairs and the public life of the city."
WHERE: The show airs every weekday at noon on WNYC-FM and WYNC.org
WHY: "News, calendars, live updates, commentary – the website provides everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. Supreme Court and its cases but didn’t know where to look."
WHAT: Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek (The New York Times)
WHY: "A spectacular example of the potential of digital-age storytelling, the web site combines thorough traditional reporting of a deadly avalanche with stunning topographic video."
WHERE: Still online at NYTimes.com.
WHAT: Design Ah! (NHK Educational Channel)
WHY: "Celebrating the joy of design, this minimalist, all but wordless series aims to help children perceive objects and ideas from different perspectives – to see."
WHAT: Lorne Michaels
WHY: "A rare Individual Peabody goes Lorne Michaels because he’s the patron saint of satirical television comedy and, as one of his old co-conspirators would say, you’re not."
WHERE: Watch Saturday Night Live, we guess. Everything's on Hulu.
WHAT: Michael Apted’s ‘Up’ Series (ITV 1)
WHY: "Originally conceived to illustrate class immobility, the series that revisits the same group of British citizens every seven years, most recently in “56 Up,” has long since become more personal than political. Notable for its creator’s patience and its subjects’ humanity, the “Up” series receives an Institutional Peabody."
WHERE: The first seven films (7 Up; 14 Up; 21 Up; etc;) in the series are available on Netflix Instant and DVD. 56 Up was released in U.S. theaters in January.
WHAT: Robin’s Journey (ABC News)
WHY: "By allowing her network to document and build a public service campaign around her battle with rare disease, “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts inspired hundreds of potential bone marrow donors to register and heightened awareness of the need for even more donors."
WHERE: Archives of Good Morning America's Robin Roberts stories are on ABCNews.com
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.