2009 Television: Spot News/Feature Reporting


In the winning program segment, host Neil deGrasse Tyson visited a production facility that makes diamonds good enough to fool a jeweler. The segment described the properties of diamonds, the advances in materials science that allow their manufacture, the advantages of lab-made diamonds over natural diamonds, and their potential use in fields such as electronics, transportation and communications. Warren Leary, a science writer formerly with The New York Times, called the segment “a good showcase for science and engineering that the public can understand and enjoy.” Freelance science writer Brian Vastag said the segment gave an “entertaining snapshot of a technology that could change the field of electronics… A rare materials science treat.”

Cort noted that “chemistry is usually a tough subject for television, but this was irresistible, since the story also involved secret locations, a blindfolded host, 3000-degree plasma, and a character who regularly deals in 100 carat diamonds.” She added: “I’m thrilled and extremely honored that the AAAS chose to recognize this NOVA scienceNOW piece, and I’m delighted to know that even scientists are not immune to the allure of bling.”

Julia Cort

Julia Cort has more than 25 years of broadcast experience as a producer, writer and director. She joined the WGBH Science Unit in 1991, contributing films such as “The Fabric of the Cosmos,” “Smartest machine on Earth” and “Manhunt— Boston Bombers.” She was a key player in developing NOVA’s award-winning sister series, NOVA scienceNOW, recently serving as executive producer. In the pursuit of a story, Cort has been blindfolded and led to secret diamond-making factories, waded in leech-infested swamps and attempted to recreate the technological feats of ancient Egyptian engineers.