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The Art of Science Television

10/15/2009 4:15 PM 10"250
Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer, PBS"NOVA, and Director of Science Unit, WGBH

Description: Paula Apsell, NOVA's senior executive producer laments the sad state of science journalism and discusses how NOVA is more essential than ever. In a world where the public understanding of science is diminishing, she makes a strong case for NOVA's tradition of depth and substance, tackling the most pressing issues in science, in a thoughtful and visually complex manner.

Apsell brings clips from some recent NOVA programs to illustrate the role of television's most prestigious science documentary series in the vast television and web content landscape. She provides insights into the editorial processes of topic selection, treatment, and production standards. In a world of decreasing attention spans, Apsell considers the challenges of providing meaningful science content, keeping it interesting, while not leaving the audience behind.



About the Speaker(s): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/about/apse.html Paula S. Apsell got her start in broadcasting at WGBH Boston, where she was hired fresh out of Brandeis University to type the public broadcaster's daily television program logs-a job that Apsell notes is now, mercifully, automated. Within a year, she found her way to WGBH Radio, where she developed the award"winning children's drama series The Spider's Web, and later became a radio news producer. But her real interest lay in television and science. In 1975, she joined NOVA, a fledgling WGBH"produced national series that would set the standard for science programming on television.

Apsell produced a number of critically acclaimed NOVA episodes before joining Dr. Timothy Johnson at WCVB, the ABC affiliate in Boston, as senior producer for medical programming. In 1983, she spent a year studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Knight Fellow, then called the Vannevar Bush Fellowship in the Public Understanding of Science. She returned to WGBH in 1984 to become executive producer of NOVA, guiding the series into today's highly competitive, multi"media environment.

In addition to the programs in the regular NOVA television schedule, Apsell has overseen the production of many award"winning WGBH Science Unit .Paula Apsell has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Earthwatch Institute, Hebrew College (Brookline, Massachusetts) and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. She is a trustee of the International Documentary Association.

Host(s): School of Science, Department of Physics

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MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

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