WBZ-TV and WBZ Newsradio 1030, CBS affiliates of Boston have been selected to receive a George Foster Peabody Award for their steadfast coverage of the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon and the week-long manhunt which ensued. The announcement, which was made Wednesday morning on “CBS This Morning,” praised the news outlets for becoming “crucial sources not just to their city, but to a stunned nation.”
The story of the Boston Bombings still lingers fresh in the air as, less than a year after the tragic events that took place, this resilient city warms up for the 2014 marathon later this month.
At 2:49 PM on April 15, 2013, two consecutive explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street. The mayhem left three dead, over a hundred injured, and hundreds more runners, volunteers, and spectators running for their lives.
WBZ-TV and WBZ 1030 were on the scene from the first explosion, including home video shot by wife of WBZ reporter, Paul Burton, which showed a first hand account of the bombing from the grandstand where she waited for her husband to finish the race.
These local media outlets scoured hours of video footage, along with law enforcement agencies, in search for any clues that could result in finding the culprits. The CBS affiliates followed the coverage the entire way from posting the photos of the suspects, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaey, to every television screen in the country, to the tragic murder of MIT security guard, Sean Collier, and ultimately the killing of one suspect and capture of the other.
“Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on air providing wide-ranging, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects, and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt,” praised the Peabody officials in Wednesday’s announcement.
The diligence of these news stations showed an indispensable value to modern media capabilities in terms of helping bring resolution to disaster or conflict.
The Peabody Award is given out by the University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism. It is awarded for excellence in the art of storytelling in the field of electronic media, i.e. television, radio, and internet broadcasting. First awarded in 1941, the Peabody Award is often described as the Pulitzer Prize for television and radio. This year at the 73rd annual Peabody Awards, a record 46 awards were bestowed out of nearly 1,100 entries.
“The quality of storytelling in electronic media continues to increase year-after-year, “ said Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards. “The unprecedented number of awards we gave this year reflects this fact.”
Other recipients of the award include CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose for his one-on-one interview with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, AMC’s Breaking Bad, and Netflix’s House of Cards series. WBZ-TV and WBZ Newsradio 1030 will receive their physical Peabody Award statuettes for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings on May 19 at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City along with all other recipients being honored for their groundbreaking work.
By Cody Long