The New York Times announced late Friday that it was returning a Peabody Award it won in 2018 for its “Caliphate” podcast. The podcast from NYT’s star reporter Rukmini Callimachi has had an embarrassing fall from grace culminating in an internal investigation into its reporting and production process that was released Friday morning. The report said the podcast “did not meet the standards for Times journalism” after it came to light that the crux of the story was based on lies the podcast’s main character told about his imagined time in ISIS.
As a result Callimachi will be taken off the terrorism beat. The NYT also said it would return its Peabody that it received for the podcast. The Peabody organization released a statement accepting the NYT’s proposal. "The Peabody organization was informed today that the New York Times will return its 2018 Peabody Award for the podcast Caliphate,” the statement said. “As the standard for quality media, the integrity of the Peabody Award is paramount, and we appreciate the professional manner in which the Times has handled this matter,” Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of the organization, wrote in a statement. “We will receive the return of the award, recognizing the mutual respect both organizations have for each other’s longstanding record of journalistic integrity.” The Overseas Press Club also rescinded its 2018 award for the podcast on Friday, tweeting that the club made the decision “noting the conclusions of The New York Times's internal review.”