College of Media | News

Documentary by journalism professor Jay Rosenstein wins 2010 Peabody Award

3/31/2011  10:00 am

ILLINOIS PUBLIC MEDIA (March 31)—The Lord Is Not On Trial Here Today, a documentary by Champaign filmmaker Jay Rosenstein and presented by WILL-TV, was one of the winners of the 70th Annual Peabody Awards, announced this morning.

The awards committee said: "A beautifully researched documentary by a Champaign, Illinois, station, it examines a First Amendment case critical to the establishment of separation of church and state in public schools."

The film tells the personal story of Vashti McCollum’s lawsuit against the Champaign public school system after her son, Jim, was abused by classmates and punished by the school for not taking part in a voluntary Protestant religion class. After she lost in lower court decisions, she won a resounding 8-1 decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, establishing the foundation for the separation of church and state in public schools.

The documentary also recently won a 2011 Gracie Award for Outstanding Documentary from the Alliance for Women in Media, and also won two regional Emmy Awards (Mid-America Region), a CINE Golden Eagle, the Broadcast Education Association’s Best of Competition Award in the faculty long-form documentary division, and a bronze Telly Award in the documentary category.

Rosenstein’s production debuted in October 2010 on WILL-TV, and is scheduled for national broadcast by PBS during May. The complete broadcast schedule will be available on the film's website at The film is also being distributed to educational institutions and libraries through New Day Films. 

The film was produced in partnership with WILL-TV with funding from the Independent Television Service and the Illinois Humanities Council.

Full list of 2010 Peabody Award winners.