March 31, 2011
Anna Christopher, NPR




NPR is being honored with three 70th Annual George Foster Peabody Awards for its unwavering coverage of Pakistan, an investigation into the bail bonds system and a series examining the failure of colleges to protect women from sexual assault, it was announced today. Receiving Peabody Awards are NPR Islamabad correspondent Julie McCarthy for her extraordinary coverage of Pakistan; the NPR News Investigation "Behind the Bail Bond System," reported by correspondent Laura Sullivan; and the NPR News Investigation "Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes," reported by correspondent Joseph Shapiro in collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity.

Also honored with Peabody Awards are: "Trafficked," a raw two-part series about teen prostitution reported and produced by Youth Radio, and co-produced, edited and broadcast by All Things Considered; Radiolab, produced by WNYC-FM, co-hosted by NPR's Robert Krulwich and distributed by NPR; and the radio documentary "Lucia's Letter" from WGCU-FM, the NPR member station in southwest Florida. For "Trafficked," NPR News worked hand-in-hand with the Youth Radio newsroom, with editing and production from All Things Considered executive producer Chris Turpin and senior producer Graham Smith.

"We are enormously gratified by this recognition from the Peabody Board," says Margaret Low Smith, interim senior vice president for NPR News. "The work honored represents the best of the NPR tradition rigorous reporting that has context, depth and impact. NPR reporters across the United States and in Japan, the Middle East, North Africa and around the globe are bearing witness each and every day and it is a privilege to bring this fine work to our growing audience."

Cited for coverage of Pakistan's war, flood and social issues "supported by her own deep knowledge" of the country, McCarthy earns a Peabody for her ongoing reporting from NPR's permanent bureau in Islamabad. McCarthy's work in the last year includes documenting the country's struggle to recover from devastating floods; the tremendous dangers Pakistani truck drivers face hauling supplies to U.S. and NATO troops; and the efforts of a Swati princess to revive her culture's heritage of embroidered textiles to help women make a living. McCarthy shares her award with Loren Jenkins, supervising senior foreign editor, and foreign desk editors Ted Clark and Doug Roberts.

Two NPR News Investigations are also the recipient of Peabody Awards. In the multipart series "Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes," which aired in February 2010 on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, NPR's Shapiro examined why colleges and universities fail to protect women from an epidemic of sexual assault on campus. The investigation found that even the best-intentioned of colleges are ill-equipped to investigate campus rape, and mete out adequate punishments creating a culture where victims cannot count on their schools or government oversight agencies for help. The series was a collaboration of NPR's Investigative Unit and the Center for Public Integrity. Sharing the award with Shapiro are investigative editor Susanne Reber and computer-assisted reporter Robert Benincasa.

The three-part investigative series "Behind the Bail Bond System," reported by NPR Correspondent Laura Sullivan and edited by Senior National Editor Steven Drummond, revealed deep and costly flaws in the U.S. justice system's bail bond process. Sullivan and Drummond exposed vast inequities in the treatment of rich and poor defendants, how the bail industry is vested in maintaining those inequities and the surprising cost to taxpayers. The series produced emotional feedback from listeners, and was cited by The Justice Department, the American Bar Association and lawmakers in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida in initiatives to examine current bail practices. The series also received a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award in December 2010.

With today's announcement, NPR and NPR programming have received a total of 56 Peabody Awards. The Peabody Awards recognize excellence and meritorious work by radio and television stations, networks, webcasters, producing organizations and individuals. Awards will be presented on May 23 during a ceremony in New York City. In the past week, NPR News also received Dart Awards for "Seeking Justice for Campus Rape" and the investigative series "Brain Wars: How the Military is Failing the Wounded," and the top radio honor from the National Headliner Awards for its "Confidential Informants" series.