Entertainment & Arts

Serial podcast wins Peabody journalism award

Serial podcast
Image caption Journalist Sarah Koenig said she had recorded most of the series in her basement

Serial, a 12-part podcast about a 1999 murder in Baltimore, has picked up a Peabody award for news.

It is the first time a podcast has been recognised by the prestigious awards, which recognise excellence in radio, TV or online media.

Sarah Koenig, who presented the series, said she hoped the honour proved audiences still had "patience for journalism that takes its time".

The awards were distributed at a glitzy Manhattan ceremony on Sunday.

The honourees - across some 40 categories - were announced in April.

Other awards went to British satirist John Oliver and Vice News for its coverage of Islamic State.

Charlie Brooker's Channel 4 series Black Mirror was also recognised for raising "moral conundrums" that will "wreck your sleep pattern".

And BBC One's The Honourable Woman, which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, was noted for its densely-plotted intrigues.

"It suggests complexities and age-old vendettas that often escape even the best documentaries, to say nothing of the evening news," said the judges.

Fey and Schumer kiss

"Everybody at this awards show tonight already knows that they've won," joked host Fred Armisen, from the comedy series Portlandia.

"Now you know what it feels like to be a producer on Modern Family," he added, referencing the multiple Emmy-award winning sitcom.

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Image caption Koenig said the award made her "hopeful" for the future of "great reporting"

Koenig was given her award by Cecily Strong, who previously played her in a Saturday Night Live sketch.

She praised Serial for showing "that podcasts have changed and can be gripping, must-listen-to storytelling that like very cool, hip people like me can get obsessed with".

Koenig noted that she had low expectations for the show which was recorded "mostly from my basement, with like pillows and blankets around to muffle the sound.

"We had to stop recording when my kids flushed the toilet."

Nonetheless, the series has been downloaded more than 60 million times and was rebroadcast by BBC Radio 4 Extra in the UK.

It has also raised the prospect of a retrial for Adnan Syed, the convicted murderer at the heart of Koenig's investigation.

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Image caption Fey and Schumer high-fived after their embrace

Comedian Amy Schumer was rewarded for her taboo-busting sketch show, which has tackled issues such as police brutality, rape and body image.

Accepting her prize, she said: "We thought we were making this secret feminist show and people weren't going to catch on what we were doing, and they caught on very quickly and we're so glad that they did.

"We just wanted to make a show that would make people laugh and feel better and we really feel like we're doing that, so thank you so much for this award."

Her award was presented by 30 Rock star Tina Fey, who praised the star's fearless approach.

"Many people will tell you that you can never ever joke about rape but it is all about context and point of view.

"[But] Amy and the Inside Amy Schumer show's brilliant sketch about sexual abuse in the military as filtered through violent, combat videogames was inarguably funny," Fey said.

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Image caption John Oliver faked surprise at his win

Fey continued: "I really wanted to come down here tonight, and in a Madonna kind of way try to like feed off of [Amy's] youth and maybe suck her soul out in a very awkward, staged lesbian kiss.

"But when I pitched that idea to Amy's camp, they came back with such an immediate yes that it kind of grossed me out."

But the pair locked lips anyway, with the image widely shared on social media.

Oliver, who rose to fame on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, before winning his own HBO show, said he was currently refining the format for the second series.

"We're still trying to tweak our process to try to make the show better," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

"It's like a duck: frantic underneath. Although we're a slightly panicked duck, we're flapping up a bit above as well!"

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