Jeffrey Jones To Head Peabody Awards

The television scholar from Old Dominion University will succeed Horace Newcomb as director of the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Awards in July.

Jeffrey P. Jones, a television scholar and author, will become director of the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Awards in July, succeeding Horace Newcomb, who is retiring after heading the program for 12 years.

“The Peabody Awards are such a distinctive award in American broadcasting and electronic media,” Jones said. “They are a beacon not of consumer taste culture or even artistic craftsmanship, but of civic value and community contributions. The Peabodys celebrate the narratives that shape our common humanity.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the University of Georgia and the Peabody Awards program in continuing this historical legacy of recognizing the best that electronic media have to offer us as national and global citizens.”

Currently an associate professor at Old Dominion University and director of its Institute of Humanities, Jones is the author of Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement, which examines political entertainment shows such as The Colbert Report. He is also an editor of The Essential HBO Reader and Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era.

A native of Auburn, Ala., he holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in political science from Auburn University and a doctorate in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jones is also the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters that investigate the interactions between popular culture and politics. His most recent work includes book chapters examining network talk shows in the digital era, the role of pop culture in the 2012 presidential election, and the challenges to journalism presented by the Colbert-coined concept of “truthiness.” His next book will be Television and Politics in the Digital Age: Performing American Public Life.


“Director of the Peabody Awards is one of the most high profile positions at the University of Georgia,” said Culpepper Clark, dean of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Jeff Jones is an ideal successor to Horace Newcomb, who over the last 12 years elevated and defined its 21st-century role.

Jones will be only the fifth Peabody director in the history of the awards, which are the oldest in broadcasting and are considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media.

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