Alumni honored with 2023 Peabody Awards nominations

May 1, 2024

Black and white photograph of Violet Du Feng wearing an all black outfit with dark long hair and her hands crossed over eachother.

Violet Du Feng

Five Berkeley Journalism alums are nominated for Peabody Awards, an honor that celebrates the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media in 2023.

Nominees were chosen by the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from more than 1,100 entries from television, podcasts/radio and the web.

Celebrated filmmaker Violet Du Feng (’04) was nominated for best documentary for Independent Lens’ Hidden Letters (PBS), which reveals how modern women in China are working to maintain the tradition of Nüshu, a secret calligraphy language used to communicate during a time when many women were kept from literacy. The film premiered in competition at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, won ten international festival awards, was shortlisted for the Oscars in the Documentary Feature Film category and was broadcast in more than 15 countries.

Photograph of audio producer Lacy Roberts wearing a white and blue striped shirt with long auburn hair smiling.

Lacy Roberts

Lacy Roberts (’17) is the editor of “The Big Dig” from PRX and WGBH, nominated for best radio/podcast. The nine-episode series takes on the subject of American infrastructure and makes it riveting by going deep on Boston’s large-scale “Big Dig” project, a highway tunneling effort that became infamous for its ballooning price and ever-lengthening timeline, though in the end delivering on its promises.

Three recent graduates, Production Manager Steven Rascón (’22), Production Assistant Kori Suzuki (’23) and Kathryn Styer Martinez (’23) of the post-production team, worked on “Reveal” from The Center for Investigative Reporting’s “The COVID Tracking Project” (PRX) nominated for best radio/podcast.

The COVID Tracking Project — a massive volunteer effort to document tests, hospitalizations and deaths — tracked the presence of the virus and deaths, becoming a de facto source of data amid the chaos of COVID-19. The series addresses crucial concerns about why the U.S. had to rely on volunteerism, rather than federal and state public health institutions, to receive critical COVID data during the worst public health crisis in a century.

Collage of 3 casual headshots of journalists Steven Rascón, Kori Suzuki and Kathryn Styer Martinez.

Steven Rascón, Kori Suzuki and Kathryn Styer Martinez

Du Feng is an Emmy Award-winning independent documentarian who has directed, produced, and executive produced more than ten films over the past decade. Her films have been invited to more than 100 international film festivals. She started her career as a co-producer on the critically acclaimed 2007 film “Nanking”, which won a Sundance Special Jury Award, a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award; was distributed theatrically in 30 countries and was the highest-grossing documentary in China.

Roberts is a deeply experienced independent podcast producer and story editor. She’s edited and produced for the best in the podcasting business: CNN, NBC, Crooked Media, IHeart, Kaleidoscope, TED and more. Before going independent, she was the managing producer at Brooklyn-based podcast production company Transmitter Media. In 2017, she co-directed “We Became Fragments“, a short documentary film featured in The New York Times Op-Docs Season 6 that was a finalist for a Livingston Award. Her freelance work has also been seen and heard in the New York Times, The Atlantic, PBS NewsHour, and NPR affiliates around the country.

Rascón is the production manager for the radio show and podcast “Reveal” from the Center for Investigative Reporting. He also produced the KQED podcast, “On Our Watch: New Folsom,” a serial investigation into the death of two whistleblowers inside California’s most dangerous prison, which aired on NPR stations such as KQED, Capital Public Radio, WHYY and KCRW. Rascón also helped produce the Peabody-nominated “Reveal” podcast series “Mississippi Goddam.”

Suzuki is a Japanese American journalist and documentary photographer based in San Diego, California. He is currently a staff reporter at KPBS, the NPR station in San Diego, California. His job is through the new California Local Fellowship, and he covers a regional beat that includes South San Diego County and the Imperial Valley. He previously worked as an associate audio producer for “Reveal,” a visuals intern for KQED Public Media and The Seattle Times, and an audio intern for The Washington Post.

Martínez is an award-winning, nationally recognized journalist. She joined Oregon Public Broadcasting as a full-time, permanent staff reporter based in Bend this April. She has worked in local news for KQED, The Press Democrat, Minnesota Public Radio News as a Toni Randolph Fellow where her reporting won an award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association and KPFA News in Berkeley, where she got her start. She was named a Jim Marshall Photojournalism Fellow at Berkeley Journalism in 2023 and a Greater Good Science Center reporting fellow in 2021. She was the production assistant with “Reveal” from the Center for Investigative Reporting throughout her time at Berkeley Journalism. She worked on award-winning and Peabody nominated projects “Mississippi Goddam” and the award-winning “After Ayotzinapa” series. She helped produce and contributed reporting to “Buried Secrets,” a series by ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) senior correspondent Mary Annette Pember for “Reveal”.

The winners of the 84th annual Peabody Awards will be announced on May 9 and celebrated on Sunday, June 9 at a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. This will be Peabody’s first in-person ceremony since 2019, as well as the first time ever in its history that the Awards will take place in Los Angeles.

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