Last week the Peabody Awards, which recognizes the best in electronic media, announced a record 46 awards for the past year. Award recipients ranged from popular television dramas to international and local radio productions.
Al-Jazeera America, the alternative cable news network still having troubles breaking through in the U.S. cable market, won two awards for episodes of its documentary program Fault Lines: "Haiti in a Time of Cholera” and “Made in Bangladesh," which took a look at major American retailers who turn a blind eye to the dangerous practices of foreign subcontractors, which in part led to the clothing-factory fire in Bangladesh in 2012 that caused more than 110 deaths.
The local note: The producer of the Bangladesh film was Laila Al-Arian, a former Tampa resident who spent some time back in the day interning with CL (back when it was known as the Weekly Planet).
"We hope that the film was able to give a voice to the workers who make clothes for America’s biggest retailers — and highlight the dangers they face every day,” Al-Arian said in a statement listed on Al Jazeera America's website. “We also hope that we shed some light on a complex supply chain system that has contributed to poor, dangerous, and sometimes deadly working conditions.”
And yes, if the last name rings familiar, she is the daughter of former USF professor Sami Al-Arian, who was indicted in February 2003 by the federal government on 17 counts related to terrorism. But a jury in Tampa acquitted him on eight of those charges and deadlocked on the other nine in late 2005. In 2007 he struck a plea bargain and admitted to one of the remaining charges in exchange for being released and deported — a deportation that has never taken effect. (What has happened to Sami Al-Arian over the course of the last few years was documented by the Tampa Tribune's Elaine Silvestrini last week.)
Since graduating from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2006, Laila Al-Arian's work has appeared in The Nation, Alternet, The Independent, The Guardian, The Australian, United Press International, and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.