NPR local Atlanta radio station WABE’s history podcast “Buried Truths,” hosted by Professor of Practice Hank Klibanoff, has been nominated for a Peabody Award. The nomination followed a unanimous vote from the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors, according to the Peabody Award website.
Peabody will announce the winners beginning as early as April 16. The last announcement, for winners in the news, radio and podcasts, web and public service categories, will occur April 23.
“Buried Truths” was one of 60 nominees selected from an applicant pool of more than 1,200 entries, which included programming in television, radio, podcasts and other internet platforms, with genres spanning entertainment, news, documentary, children’s and public service programming. In the coming weeks, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors will select 30 winners.
The six-episode podcast examines the racial climate of Jim Crow Georgia, with a special focus on the 1948 killing of Isaiah Nixon, a black farmer, by two white men. Nixon’s case first came to light in Emory’s Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project class, which Klibanoff teaches and directs. The project gives undergraduates the opportunity to explore unsolved, racially motivated killings during the modern civil rights era in Georgia.
Klibanoff, who has spent years in the newsrooms of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) in various editing positions, said that the “Buried Truths” production team decided to make the podcast because the case lacked public recognition, the Wheel previously reported.
Klibanoff admitted that he was initially apprehensive about the nomination.
“When you first hear that you’re a nominee, it’s a little cryptic, because I assumed you become a nominee when you submit your work,” Klibanoff said. “But it was very exciting to be there in the moment, to see it come across an email like that, to realize you’re a finalist.”
Klibanoff said he had not anticipated the future awards and accolades when he first began working on the podcast with WABE.
“I didn’t even think it had a place in a contest. … My goal wasn’t to gain wide recognition — it was to teach a course that I thought was very interesting,” Klibanoff said. “I come at this [project] not as a reformer, but as a journalist driven by curiosity, wanting to know why.”
Klibanoff said he can patiently wait for the award.
“It’s worth waiting for,” Klibanoff said. “Isaiah Nixon’s family waited 67 years for their story to be told. It was through the work of Emory students that his grave was discovered, 67 years later. If they could wait 67 years, I could probably wait two weeks.”
Katherine Dautrich (18C,19G), a former student of Klibanoff who worked on Isaiah Nixon’s case as a researcher for two years, said that receiving the award was unfathomable.
“I feel shock. I feel joy,” Dautrich said. “But also, I recognize that it’s an honor and privilege to be helping to tell these stories for people who can’t tell them themselves. … Professor Klibanoff is committed to the project and to the people he speaks to, that he easily establishes a sense of trust [with these families].”
Editors’ Note: Hank Klibanoff is the Wheel’s faculty adviser. He was not involved in the composition or editing of this article.