AAPB Debuts New Online Exhibit “Structuring the News: The Magazine Format in Public Media”

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has launched a new digital exhibit about newsmagazines, a popular form of news presentation spanning five decades of radio and television broadcasting. Departing from mainstream examples such as 60 Minutes and All Things Considered, the exhibit brings together unique programs produced by independent stations from across the country for the first time as a unified collection. The newsmagazines showcased in “Structuring the News” cover topics from labor strikes to a day in the life of an air traffic controller, and emphasize conversations and voices often overlooked by network news shows.

“Structuring the News” is curated by Digital Exhibits Intern Alejandra Dean, and highlights 42 definitive examples representing both metropolitan producers and smaller, regional studios. Many of the shows in the exhibit prioritize local issues and communities, providing a window into American daily life from 1976-2016. In addition to defining the format, the exhibit looks at important precursors during the 1960s that experimented with news reporting.

“Structuring the News” can be accessed online at http://americanarchive.org/exhibits/newsmagazines.

To celebrate the launch of “Structuring the News: The Magazine Format in Public Media”, the exhibit’s curator, Alejandra Dean, AAPB Project Manager Casey Davis Kaufman, and Mark Williams, Professor of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College, will be discussing newsmagazines in a Facebook Live event at 12pm EDT on Thursday, July 6th. Don’t miss this inside look at over fifty years of broadcast newsmagazines, and the chance to ask questions about the exhibit! To watch, head to WGBH’s Facebook page at 12pm EDT on July 6th.

Join Current for “Get with the program!: Shows that shaped public television”

2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act. Join Current for Get with The Program!: Shows that Shaped Public Television, a series of online events looking at some of the most influential public TV programs of all time. First up: Firing Line, the legendary public affairs program hosted by conservative intellectual William F. Buckley. Watch clips of Firing Line, courtesy of the Hoover Institution Archives, and discuss the impact of this groundbreaking show on American culture and public TV itself. Guests include Heather Hendershot, author of “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on The Firing Line” and former ABC News analyst Jeff Greenfield. This free event is Wednesday, May 24 at 1 pm ET. Reserve your spot here: bit.ly/pba50-firingline.

FiringLine
Image courtesy Hoover Institution Archives

PBS NewsHour Digitization Project Update

NewsHour_Project_LogosIn January 2016, the Council on Library and Information Resources awarded WGBH, the Library of Congress, WETA, and NewsHour Productions, LLC a grant to digitize, preserve, and make publicly accessible on the AAPB website 32 years of NewsHour predecessor programs, from October 1975 to December 2007, that currently exist on obsolete analog formats. Described by co-creator Robert MacNeil as “a place where the news is allowed to breathe, where we can calmly, intelligently look at what has happened, what it means and why it is important,” the NewsHour has consistently provided a forum for newsmakers and experts in many fields to present their views at length in a format intended to achieve clarity and balance, rather than brevity and ratings. A Gallup Poll found the NewsHour America’s “most believed” program. We are honored to preserve this monumental series and include it in AAPB.

Last week, our contract archivist Alexander (AJ) Lawrence completed the inventory of 7,320 NewsHour tapes stored in 523 boxes located in WETA’s storage units in Arlington, Virginia, comprising the bulk of the collection. (Additional content is located at two other locations.)

“I was so excited to receive Casey’s initial email asking about my interest in the NewsHour project. I’ve been a life long watcher of the program and the chance to be involved in the preservation of such a valuable resource for historical research seemed like a wonderful opportunity.

The process of inventorying the entire collection seemed pretty daunting on my first day when I got my first in-person look at the storage units housing the estimated 7,500 tapes. However, the process has gone quite smoothly overall and we’ve now surpassed the halfway point. Generally, the tapes have little more than a date to identify them, but it’s been especially interesting to come across the tapes for significant historical events over the past 40+ years. These tapes in particular offered me a chance to reflect on some major cultural milestones I’ve witnessed, often through coverage by the NewsHour team. That said, it was also fun to come across the broadcast that aired on the day I was born, as well as the very first broadcast of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.

Thankfully, I haven’t been tackling the entire inventory alone. I need to offer a special thanks to Matthew Graylin, a desk assistant with the NewsHour who’s been tasked with assisting me with the work. Needless to say, conducting an archival inventory is well beyond the normal duties of a broadcast news assistant, but Matthew has dived in with gusto. We still have a few weeks together, so hopefully I can convert him into a future audiovisual archivist in that time.”

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We have also selected a digitization vendor for the project and are looking to begin pilot tests for digitization within the next month. Meanwhile, the Library has instituted quality control procedures to ensure that all digitized files will be properly preserved for present and future generations.

We can’t wait to get started with digitization and look forward to making this monumental series accessible as part of the AAPB collection. In the meantime, we’re pleased to share this clip reel sampling of content that will be digitized, courtesy of NewsHour Productions.

 

PBS Annual Meeting Presentation & Takeaways

The American Archive team from WGBH presented at the PBS Annual Meeting in San Francisco. We had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of our station collaborators in person and gather tremendously useful feedback from participants. Many thanks to all of those who attended the session and reception, as well as those who took the time to meet with us at other moments during the conference. Additionally, we are sincerely grateful to our co-presenters, Sandy Schonning from KQED and Laura Sampson from Rocky Mountain PBS’ Stations Archived Memories program.

Below we’ve provided our Annual Meeting slideshow, divided into three sections: 1) history and progress of the American Archive, 2) stories from stations, and 3) discussion. During the discussion section, we asked a series of questions, and in this version of the presentation you will find a summary of the answers. If your organization is participating in the American Archive, please feel free to comment on this post with your answers to these questions (or questions about these questions!).

Feel free to email any of our session presenters:

Karen Cariani, Director
WGBH Media Library & Archives
karen_cariani [at] wgbh [dot] org

Casey E. Davis, Project Manager, American Archive
WGBH Media Library & Archives
casey_davis [at] wgbh [dot] org

Laura Sampson, Rocky Mountain PBS
Stations Archived Memories 

laurasampson [at] me [dot] com

Sandy Schonning, KQED
sschonning [at] kqed [dot] org