Science and Medical Journalism TV Reporting

Check out award-winning environmental, science and medical television reports, all produced by students in UNC’s Science and Medical Journalism Program.


Reports on N.C. State Parks for UNC-TV’s North Carolina Now

As part of the core master’s curriculum, students have partnered with North Carolina Public Television to produce an ongoing series about environmental issues facing N.C. State Parks. In late 2014, the seventh and eighth installments in these series, spotlighting stories at Jordan Lake and Pettigrew State Park, aired Dec. 1 and 2 on UNC-TV's "North Carolina Now."

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area Jordan Lake

The first piece examines efforts to reduce pollution in Jordan Lake through installation of 36 solar-powered devices that churn stagnant water in the lake. Scientists say stagnant water can promote growth of cyanobacteria that can produce toxins threatening water quality. Jordan Lake supplies drinking water to thousands of Triangle residents.

Producer, Andrea Gonzalez; associate producer, Lucy Thomas; scriptwriter, Jeff Popkin; videographer/editor, Mike O’Connell; graphic artist, Heather Dollar.

Pilot Mountain State Park Pettigrew State Park

The second piece chronicled the discovery of 30 sunken Native-American canoes found in Lake Phelps in Pettigrew State Park in eastern North Carolina. Scientists have determined through carbon dating that the canoes range in age from 500 to 4,400 years old. State archeologists are trying to find ways to preserve four of the canoes excavated from the lake bottom.

Producer, Joseph Townsend; associate producers, Scott Sessoms; scriptwriter, Kate Grise; videographer/editor, Mike O’Connell; graphic artist, Heather Dollar.

The Sun Can Be Yours

In summer 2014, the Science and Medical Journalism Program partnered with students and faculty from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, to launch a multimedia website documenting how investors in solar energy in Spain have suffered as the government has cut returns to investors.

The site — — offers a possible object lesson to American solar investors, according to Dr. Tom Linden, director of the Science and Medical Journalism Program and co-executive producer of the project.

Pictured: Setting up interview with solar farm investor Juan Antonio Cabrero, third from left, are master’s graduate Daniel Lane (back to camera), professor Tom Linden and professor Álvaro Bonet from the University of Navarra’s School of Communication. Photo by Courtni Kopietz.

The Sun Can Be Yours

Reports on N.C. State Parks: 2013

Beyond the recent reports on Lake Phelps and Jordan Lake, students have previously produced six reports, ranging from threats to a temperate rain forest in the Blue Ridge Escarpment in western N.C. to efforts to rehydrate the Great Dismal Swamp in eastern N.C. and southern Virginia. In late 2013, science and medical journalism students produced the following reports:

Chimney Rock State Park Chimney Rock State Park

In a public/private partnership Chimney Rock State Park is balancing demands of tourism with the need to preserve one of the state’s most famous scenic spots.

Producer, Courtni Kopietz; associate producer, Jagmeet Mac; scriptwriter, Natalie Taylor; videographer/editor, Mike Oniffrey; additional videography, Taylor, Mac; graphic artist, Heather Dollar.

Pilot Mountain State Park Pilot Mountain State Park

Officials at Pilot Mountain State Park are monitoring regrowth of plant life one year after a controlled burn spawned new life on this iconic mountain.

Producer, Rachel Tove-White; associate producers, Caleb Cates, Ana Navarina; scriptwriter, Andy Willard; videographer/editor, Mike Oniffrey; additional videography, Tove-White; graphic artist, Heather Dollar.

Dismal Swamp State Park Dismal Swamp State Park

State and federal officials are bringing water back to the Great Dismal Swamp, more than 200 years after settlers started draining this unique ecosystem.

Producer, Brian Walker; associate producer, Abigail Brewer; scriptwriter, Dan Lane; videographer/editor, Mike Oniffrey; additional videography, Lane, Walker; graphic artist, Heather Dollar.

Additional Reporting

These reports followed earlier stories on Gorges State Park, home to one of the only temperate rain forests in the eastern United States; Eno River State Park, where biologists are trying to control an Asian aquatic plant that is crowding out native species; and Fort Macon State Park, where rangers fight a constant battle to prevent the ocean from washing away this famous landmark. Students have also produced reports for statewide public television examining fracking, biomass and solar as renewable sources, and hybrid electric vehicles.

You can also view our half-hour documentary, “Environmental Heroes,” that tells the stories of how one tree lover is on a mission to save the hemlocks from destruction, how two farmers are practicing sustainable agriculture to bring food to the table, and how local citizens are cleaning up a polluted urban creek.

Two reports — “HIV & Kids” and “Surviving Childhood Cancer” — have won Midsouth Regional Emmys. Other reports have won student awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Region II. Below are links to many of the student-produced reports that have aired previously on North Carolina Public Television.

Science & Environmental Reports Environmental Heroes

Endangered Estuaries

Menhaden Fishery

Habitat Restoration

Blue Crab

Air Pollution

The Poor & Air Pollution

Urban Air Pollution

Asheville & Air Pollution

Asthma & Air Pollution

Water Quality

Watauga Riverkeeper

Hogs & Water Quality

Straight Piping & Water Quality

Neuse River & Water Quality

Waccamaw River Water Quality

Compost King

Environmental Justice

Coastal Protector


Medical Reports
Sexually Transmitted Infections

HPV & Herpes

Gonorrhea & Chlamydia



HIV & Kids

Backstory to HIV & Kids

Sickle Cell Disease

Surviving Childhood Cancer

Uninsured Children

Mental Health