April 4, 2012
Anna Christopher, NPR




NPR is being honored by the 71st Annual George Foster Peabody Awards for an investigation into inequalities in the South Dakota foster care system for Native Americans, powerful coverage of the Arab Spring, and remembrances of 9/11 collected by StoryCorps and broadcast on Morning Edition, it was announced today.

Receiving Peabody Awards are the NPR News Investigation "Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families," reported by correspondent Laura Sullivan and producer Amy Walters; and NPR's foreign desk, namely Jerusalem Correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, for extraordinary coverage of the Arab Spring in 2011. The oral history project StoryCorps' powerful response to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 also received an award; interviews with survivors and victims' relatives were broadcast in a moving series on NPR's Morning Edition.

"This is an enormous honor," said Margaret Low Smith, Senior Vice President of NPR News. "These awards underscore the importance of our commitment to international coverage and to investigative reporting. Bearing witness as history unfolds is vital. There is nothing that replaces great reporting and deep storytelling."

The unflinching series "Native Foster Care," which aired in three parts on All Things Considered in October 2011, examined how lack of knowledge about Native culture and traditions and federal financial funding all influence the decision to remove so many Native-American children from homes in South Dakota. Through more than 150 interviews with state and federal officials, tribal representatives and families from eight South Dakota tribes, plus a review of thousands of records, correspondent Laura Sullivan and NPR producers pieced together a narrative of inequality in the foster care system across the state. NPR found that many children are taken in questionable circumstances while the state is largely failing to place them with their family and tribes, as federal law requires. The families, often impoverished and lacking resources, are left with little information and minimal power to fight back. Sullivan shares this award with Amy Walters, producer; editors Susanne Reber, Steve Drummond, and Jonathan Kern; multimedia: John Poole, Keith Jenkins; digital staff; Barbara Van Woerkom, Alicia Cypress, Alyson Hurt, Nate Rott and Quinn Ford.

Receiving a Peabody for "exemplary coverage throughout the Middle East" during the Arab Spring is Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Jerusalem correspondent for NPR. The Peabody board cited Garcia-Navarro for "eloquently describing events or passing her microphone to everyday protesters or regime supporters." It's these reports, collected with those of her fellow foreign correspondents based in Cairo and elsewhere, that defined and gave voice to the events for millions of listeners. NPR has long distinguished its foreign coverage by stepping outside the U.S. perspective to bring listeners dynamic stories from the world. Garcia-Navarro shares her award with Loren Jenkins, former senior foreign editor; editor Doug Roberts; and producers Grant Clark, JJ Sutherland, Jonathan Blakely, Nishant Dahiya and Sean Carberry.

Since 2005, StoryCorps has worked with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to record more than 1,000 interviews with people affected by the events of 9/11. For the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Morning Edition aired StoryCorps pieces paying tribute to Father Mychal Judge, NYC Fire Department Chaplain and the first confirmed death that day. StoryCorps also worked with NPR to produce an hour-long special, "We Remember: StoryCorps Stories from 9/11." The September 11 Memorial & Museum selected several StoryCorps stories for its official app, which guides visitors through the site while honoring victims of the attacks. Additionally, StoryCorps created animations from recorded remembrances that were broadcast on PBS, and featured on the homepage of YouTube on September 11, 2011.

With today's announcement, NPR and NPR programming have received a total of 59 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 21 during a ceremony in New York City.