ESPN Nets Prestigious Peabody Award For Coverage Of Michigan State Gymnastics Stories

Impactful storytelling reflects collaborative investigative journalism on many ESPN platforms

The 2018 Arthur Ashe Award for Courage recipients gather during The ESPYS Presented by Capital One.
(Photo:Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images; Illustration: Emily Archacki)

ESPN has won its seventh Peabody Award for “Spartan Silence,” which includes ESPN’s coverage of the Larry Nassar case, investigations into how the university dealt with early complaints against Nassar, as well as sexual assault claims against student-athletes, and the stories of the brave women survivors. Many people across all ESPN platforms collaborated on this work including journalists, E:60, espnW, The ESPYS, Outside the Lines and SportsCenter.

“This Peabody Award-winning work is among the most impactful journalism the ESPN team has produced in our 40 years of exemplary storytelling,” said ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro. “The image of over 140 ‘sister survivors’ on our ESPYS stage last summer will endure, as will the significance of the Peabody Board of Jurors’ esteemed recognition of our efforts.”

Earlier this month, “Spartan Silence” also won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award in the Sports Investigations Category. ESPN’s most recent Peabody Award came in 2017 for ESPN Films’ “OJ: Made in America.”

Other ESPN leaders who oversee the teams that worked tirelessly to tell the important news surrounding Nassar and Michigan State and to give a platform to survivors and share their stories weighed in on what the Peabody Award means to them:

This work is some of the most important we have ever done—and ever may do. It is not overstating things to say that our team members who worked on the many elements that comprise “Spartan Silence,” from the original investigative work into Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, to the Arthur Ashe Award presentation at The ESPYS, to the espnW special “Being Believed,” are forever changed by the experience. – VP & Editor-in-Chief, ESPN The Magazine, espnW and The ESPYS, Alison Overholt

As exciting as it is to see this recognition of the incredible work, the most gratifying thing to celebrate is the way in which all of our outstanding journalists selflessly, intentionally collaborated across platforms and shows in order to deliver these stories with urgency, clarity and compassion. That spirit is truly cause for celebration every day … especially today.” – Sr. VP, Original Content, Rob King

The Peabody Award is one of the most prestigious in our industry and this acknowledgement of our stories on sexual abuse at Michigan State is especially meaningful to ESPN. Our work on this story is a reflection of our commitment to give voice to survivors and to hold perpetrators to account. This honor is a testament not only to the relentless and incisive reporting and storytelling of our Outside the Lines and E:60 journalists, but also to the courage of the survivors, who came forward to share their experiences in the hope that by doing so they might help others and prevent more abuses.” – Andy Tennant, executive producer E:60 and Outside the Lines

This Peabody is special because the survivors of sexual abuse at Michigan State trusted us to tell their stories to the public. We were able to leverage our journalism and storytelling, from Outside the Lines and E:60 to the ESPYs and espnW, to shine a bright spotlight on the lack of accountability by school administrators once these survivors reported what had been done to them. We are incredibly grateful for this special honor.” – Dwayne Bray, senior coordinating producer

Read more about ESPN’s Peabody Award-winning storytelling in The Wrap.

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