After operating a Student Honor Board for years, the Peabody Awards is launching a Peabody Internship Agency for the Spring 2020 semester.
The internship will allow students to participate in an experiential learning course taught by Academic Director of the Peabody Media Center Taylor Miller. In the class, students will work on and produce projects related to “Peabody's mission of bringing attention to ‘stories that matter.’”
One student, though, isn't happy about the shakeup.
“It feels like I got kicked out of the party, and I just got invited,” said Andrea Manning, a former Peabody Student Honor Board member and sophomore creative literature and theater double major.
Created in 1940 to recognize excellence in radio, broadcasting and online media, the Peabody Awards are housed under the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Though students at UGA have always had a relationship to the Peabody Awards by serving on screening committees, Executive Director Jeffrey P. Jones created the Peabody Student Honor Board initiative in 2014 to increase student participation and provide students the opportunity to judge storytelling in digital spaces.
After Jones secured a sponsorship from Facebook in 2015 to create the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media award, the board became more a “more formalized” initiative to judge storytelling in digital spaces, Jones said.
Members of the Honor Board sought out and nominated forms of digital storytelling in seven categories: digital journalism, interactive documentary, video games, virtual reality, mobile applications, transmedia and webisodes. The board then selected the recipients of the award in each category and presented them at a luncheon one day prior to the Peabody Awards in early May.
The Honor Board’s sponsorship with Facebook ended in 2018 after Facebook “shifted focus” to other priorities, Jones said.
Jones has yet to find another sponsor for the Futures of Media award and declined to make a statement about the award’s future at this time.
All students interested in the new program must apply to be considered for the internship, including students who were on the now-defunct honor board.
Manning felt “disheartened and really upset” after being notified via email of the program’s cancellation.
“When we were brought into [the honor board], it was the idea of ‘You won’t have to reapply in the future, you’re a part of this organization and you’re in until you leave,’” Manning said.
The internship agency is not a replacement as much as it is “something different,” Jones said.
The agency will offer specific tracks for students majoring in Entertainment and Media Studies, Advertising and Public Relations and Journalism. Students in other departments or schools may apply for research positions as well.
The internship program uses a different application than the Student Honor Board. Jones said he expects to accept about 25-30 students for the class.
“The different skill set is what you're asking for,” Jones said. “No one who was on the honor board should feel kicked to the curb.”
As a non-Grady major, Manning believes the new application requirements and structure of the internship make it “exclusive” to Grady students. The application requires a portfolio, but Manning said she doesn’t have one. The course offers a student researcher track for interested applicants from other colleges.
The Facebook sponsorship also allocated funds to pay for Student Honor Board members to attend the Peabody Awards. This year, the ceremony will be held in Los Angeles for the first time, which requires a more expensive plane ticket, Jones said. The program is still determining whether students in the internship program will be able to attend.
“There's a possibility, but we're not there yet,” Jones said.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, it was stated that the Peabody Student Honor Board was created by the Peabody Board of Jurors for students to screen submissions for the Peabody Awards. The Board was created by Jeffrey P. Jones to increase student participation with the awards. It was also stated that the function of the board changed after securing a Facebook sponsorship in 2015. The function of the board has stayed the same since its creation in 2014. It was stated that members of the Honor Board judge submissions for the awards and present them at the award ceremony. Members of the Honor Board nominate forms of digital storytelling for the award and present them at a luncheon prior to the ceremony. Additionally, it was implied that the Honor Board did not have a class component. All members of the board were required to take EMST 5990: “New Digital Narratives.” The Red & Black regrets these errors, and they have since been fixed.