Award Winners

2016

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

Gold

“The Experiments: The Star Surgeon”

Swedish Public Television (SVT)

 

Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini gained international attention in 2011 when he announced he had performed the world’s first synthetic organ transplant by replacing a patient’s trachea, or windpipe, with a plastic tube. When doubts arose about the success of subsequent operations, Karolinska officials disregarded the results of an investigation by an outside expert and reaffirmed their faith in Macchiarini. In a gripping three-part documentary, reporter Bosse Lindquist explained how the surgeon did not fully inform his patients about the risks of the trachea implants and had...Read more

Silver

“Making North America” Origins

“Making North America” Life

“Making North America” Human

Windfall Films (London) for NOVA/WGBH

 

The three-part NOVA series on “Making North America” describes how powerful geological forces formed a continent, how life evolved on that continent, how humans first set foot on North America, and what surprises the continent’s changing landscape may have in store for us. The lushly photographed series, with stunning computer graphics that recreate a world of tectonic upheaval, provides a look deep into our planet’s history. Paleontologist Kirk Johnson, an enthusiastic and fearless guide, takes viewers on an extended field trip to some of the most stunning locales on the...Read more

2015

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

Gold

"Climate Change by Numbers" - 2 Mar. 2015

BBC

 

The BBC team used clever analogies and appealing graphics to discuss three key numbers that help clarify important questions about climate change: 0.85 degrees Celsius — how much the Earth has warmed since the 1880s; 95% — how sure scientists are that human activity is the major cause of Earth's recent warming; and one trillion tons — the best estimate of the amount of carbon that can be burned before risking dangerous climate change. Three mathematicians discuss such topics as the moon landing, early 20th century cotton mills, and motor racing to help illuminate the...Read more

Silver

"Genetic Me" - 26 Nov. 2014

Danish Broadcasting Corporation

 

Danish journalist Lone Frank and director Pernille Rose Grønkjær took viewers on a deeply personal journey of discovery as Frank explored current research on the genetic factors at play in personality development. "Genes and environment can never be seen as isolated from each other," Frank says. "They're engaged in an eternal exchange." Baron called the documentary "one of the most original pieces of TV science journalism I have ever seen." Richard Hudson, director of science production for Twin Cities Public Television, called it a memorable film in which Frank "...Read more

2014

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"Your Inner Fish" - 9 Apr., 16 Apr., 23 Apr. 2014

Tangled Bank Studios/Windfall Films for PBS

 

Michael Rosenfeld, David Dugan, and Neil Shubin won for a three-part PBS series on "Your Inner Fish." The winning series described how Shubin, a fish paleontologist, and his colleagues use fossil evidence and our DNA history to trace different features of our anatomy to animals from long ago. Natalie Angier, a science writer for The New York Times, praised the PBS series. "I particularly applaud the segments that reveal what fieldwork is really like," Angier said, "and the graphics really brought the fossils to life."

Shubin, the author of two books on...Read more

2013

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"Killer in the Caves" - 13 Mar. 2013

Smithsonian Channel

 

Bats in North America are dying by the millions, victims of a mysterious fungus that causes white-nose syndrome and has produced one of the greatest wildlife disasters in U.S. history. "Killer in the Caves" follows bat expert DeeAnn Reeder of Bucknell University and wildlife manager Greg Turner of the Pennsylvania Game Commission in their fight against a disease that is driving little brown bats, one of the most common bat species in the northeastern United States, toward extinction. It also is causing mass mortalities among five other species. The program "paired fantastic...Read more

2012

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"Cracking Your Genetic Code" - 28 Mar. 2012

WGBH/NOVA

 

Sarah Holt, who  is now a three-time winner of the award, was honored along with executive producer Laurie Donnelly for a NOVA documentary, “Cracking Your Genetic Code.” The program, which was written, produced and directed by Holt, explored what it could mean when each of us, for a reasonable cost, can have all of the information in our DNA read, stored and available for analysis. The readout on your genes will reveal the risks of developing certain diseases as well as the chances you might pass them along to your children. The program also discussed the moral dilemmas...Read more

2011

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"Japan’s Killer Quake" - 30 Mar. 2011

WGBH-NOVA

In a gripping account of the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the WGBH/NOVA team looked at the impact of the disaster and the search for answers by scientists in the field. Richard Harris of NPR said that the producers “moved with astonishing speed to tell the story of a still-unfolding disaster.” Richard Hudson, director of science production for Twin Cities Public Television, said the program used “breathtaking footage not seen in other broadcasts” and offered an “excellent treatment of the drama and the underlying science.” Robert Strange, executive...Read more

2010

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"The Human Spark" - 6 Jan., 13 Jan. and 20 Jan. 2010

Thirteen in association with WNET.ORG

 

This wide-ranging series asked basic questions about what makes us human and how our ancestors evolved with a spark of ingenuity and intelligence that set them apart from other species, including the Neanderthals with which they co-existed for a time. The series looked at what we share in common and what sets us apart from chimpanzees, considered our closest living relatives. And it discussed the latest imaging methods that are giving neuroscientists insights into the brain mechanisms that account for language, one of the most fundamental aspects of the human spark. Dan...Read more

2009

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"The Last Extinction" - 31 Mar. 2009

WGBH/NOVA

 

What caused the rapid extinction, some 12,900 years ago, of large mammals such as woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and giant ground sloths that roamed North America? The NOVA program explored the leading theories, including the possibility that a comet broke apart in the atmosphere and smashed into the continent in multiple pieces, triggering explosions, forest fires and other devastating effects that led to the demise of up to 35 species of large mammals. The judges called the program, which used striking computer animations of the animals in question, a balanced...Read more