Journalism Studies MA alumnus David Barasoain and his team have been honoured with the prestigious Peabody Award for season one of their podcast Buried Truths

Co-executive producer Jeann Berry, senior producer David Barasoain, host Hank Klibanoff

The Peabody Award honours the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio, and online media. 

In the role of producer, writer and sound designer, Mr Barasoain, along with his team, created a podcast with the public radio station WABE in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr Barasoain, who works as the Director of Radio Production at the station, said: “I was already working there when they approached me with being the senior producer on the project.”

Buried Truths combines history with true crime as it investigates stories of injustice, resilience and racism in the American South. Hosted by journalist Hank Klibanoff, the first season explores the story of Isaiah Nixon, a black man who was killed in 1948 for voting in the Georgia Democratic primary. On the topic of the podcast, Mr Barasoain said: “He literally stood up to the men who came to his house guns drawn. It is something his family remembers to this day. We like to think of him as an unsung hero of the civil rights movement. “

Mr Barasoain graduated from the University  in 1998, after studying on the Journalism Studies MA (now, Multimedia Journalism (Broadcast) MA) course with an emphasis in radio. Of his time at the University, he said: “I did feel very well-positioned to move out into the world of journalism. It also allowed me to further some goals as an adjunct professor. As for coursework, there are a few that I still remember well. The beginning stages digital audio editing was crucial. Then a course on investigative reporting (in the non-digital age).

“But one thread of study that still sticks with me is the conversation around pluralism and how it is that the media begins to cover a story. At its essence is this question, 'are we covering a story because the public is talking about it or is the public talking about a story that we - in the media - are covering. It remains an important question.'”

On being nominated for the Peabody Award, Mr Barasoain said: “We found out that Buried Truths was nominated, which was extremely flattering. In a way I was happy to stop right there. We were up against heavy hitters like the podcasts, ‘Ear Hustle’ and ‘Bagman’ and the well-established radio program ‘This American Life’. So we had to look at it as a victory at that point. 

I was actually working the culminating moments of season two when my boss called me. She said she was extremely proud of the work that I had done and I assumed she was commenting on season two.  Only when she slipped in the word ‘win’ did I realize she was talking about the Peabody Award. We remain shocked and flattered. When we went to the ceremony to get the awards, we found out there was one common-denominator with all the winners.  While they were all interesting, they each furthered conversations around issues that are important.”  

Listen to the podcast on NPR.

Learn about the Multimedia Journalism (Broadcast) MA course of the University of Westminster.

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