L.A. Times ‘Chasing Cosby’ Podcast Wins Webby Award for Crime & Justice Podcast
The Los Angeles Times and its production partner Herzog & Co. have won a Webby Award for “Chasing Cosby,” the hit podcast series that explores the rise and fall of “America’s Dad.”
The Webbys, which honor excellence on the Internet, were presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in a virtual ceremony on May 19. “Chasing Cosby” was the winner in the crime and justice podcasts category. Recipients had the opportunity to deliver five-word acceptance speeches.
“Chasing Cosby” made its debut in January. Hosted and reported by investigative journalist Nicole Weisensee Egan, the six-part podcast collects the first-hand accounts of alleged survivors who say they were drugged and assaulted by Bill Cosby. The series also features interviews with jurors and prosecutors.
The Times became interested in creating “Chasing Cosby” after Egan had successfully published a book by the same name, according to Clint Schaff, Times vice president of strategy and development. “We were excited to bring the story to a wider audience through the power of audio,” he said. “We knew that hearing the voices of Andrea Constand and other Cosby survivors from their own mouths to listeners’ ears would resonate powerfully.”
In addition, the Cosby story “took on a second life of importance” as the #MeToo movement ignited the entertainment industry “and really forced all of us to reconsider ‘fame’ as any kind of credible defense against allegations,” Schaff said.
The biggest challenge in putting together the project? “We had too much tape!” said Abbie Fentress Swanson, Times executive producer for podcasts and audio. “There was such a cast of characters who ended up with parts in this podcast: our fearless narrator Nicki, more than a dozen survivors and their family members, lawyers, actors, members of the media, elected officials, women’s rights activists,” she said.
Swanson added that she thinks the podcast’s January release date — the same month that Harvey Weinstein was being prosecuted for his mistreatment of women — made it especially relevant. “Stories of women holding powerful men accountable were all around us — in the ether, on the radio, on television, in our inboxes and all over Twitter. And thanks to the L.A. Times, in a podcast,” she said.
The Times had three other honorees in this year’s Webby Awards: Video Journalist Mark Potts, Senior Video Director Erik Himmelsbach-Weinstein and Sports Reporter Nathan Fenno’s entry, “How CTE Changes Everything About Football,” was a nominee for best video in sports; The Times podcast, “Room 20” was an honoree in the documentary podcast category, and “L.A. in the time of Charles Manson” was an honoree for longform documentary. The complete list of Webby Award winners can be found at webbyawards.com.