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Peabodys Get Digital: YouTube, Onion, NYTimes.com Win Awards

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ATHENS, Ga. — Three dozen winners highlighting enormous changes in the communication media were announced Wednesday in the 2008 Peabody Awards.

Among them are the video-sharing Web site YouTube, the Onion News Network with its video parodies of newscasts and newsmakers and The New York Times Web site.

Peabody Director Horace Newcomb said this year's winners reflect new ways to distribute information, as well as diversity of content and genre.

"The list of winners this year clearly indicates a changing media environment that will continue to require judgment and evaluation through the Peabody Awards," he said.

Also getting Peabodys were "Lost," the ABC adventure serial; "The Giant Pool of Money," an explanation of the current fiscal crisis from public radio's "This American Life"; "Black Magic," ESPN's examination of the integration of basketball; and NBC's "Saturday Night Live" political satire during the campaign season.

Sichuan Television gleaned a Peabody for its coverage of an earthquake in China. For several days, the network provided the only source of video for television news organizations around the world, the awards announcement said. National Public Radio was also recognized for its coverage of the quake.

Peabodys went to CNN's coverage of the presidential primaries and debates and to the election-year PBS broadcasts of "Washington Week with Gwen Ifill."

The Metropolitan Opera's "Live in HD" got a Peabody as did NBC's telecast of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.

An institutional Peabody was awarded to Turner Classic Movies for showing, preserving and fostering vintage films.

"We recognize the great transformations affecting dissemination of news and information," Newcomb said. "The variety of choices available to citizens does in fact range from the best traditional journalism expanded for the Web, to sharp critiques in the form of parody and satire. Both can achieve a level of excellence that reaches the Peabody standard and both require citizens to respond with careful analysis of their own."

The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has administered the Peabodys in Athens since the program's inception in 1940.

The awards recognize achievement and public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web.

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Peabody Awards: http://www.peabody.uga.edu/

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