2017 Television: Spot News/Feature Reporting - Silver

Cat Wise and her colleagues offered solid reporting on the uses of science to better understand the nearby environment. Researchers in Portland found that mosses from two neighborhoods had high levels of cadmium and arsenic, likely from a nearby glassmaking center. Using data from air quality monitoring stations, the researchers determined that mosses could be used as indicators of air pollution and allow a more comprehensive method for tracking potential problems in local air quality.  In a second piece, Wise explained how a marine ecologist is using robots (with casings made from surplus fire extinguishers) to mimic the motions of microscopic marine life, including crab larvae, as they move through ocean waters during their development into adult organisms. Conventional wisdom says the larvae float passively in ocean currents, but the research suggests they can control their movements more than has been appreciated. “Both stories are well done and provide the viewer with insights into how scientists do their work,” said judge Larry Engel, a filmmaker and associate professor of communication at American University. “The scientists in our reports are engaged in fascinating and important research,” Wise said, “and we’re proud the award highlights their contributions to the field.”