Group to Digitize PBS NewsHour Collection

32 years of PBS NewsHour programs available online through American Archive of Public Broadcasting
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The media producer WGBH, the Library of Congress (above) and the TV station WETA are in the midst of digitizing and preserving programs on PBS NewsHour.

A group that includes the public media producer WGBH, the Library of Congress and the TV station WETA is in the midst of digitizing and preserving programs on PBS NewsHour. More than three decades of PBS NewsHour broadcasts – from 1975 to 2007 – will be preserved and available online as part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB).

The program is being made possible with funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The project will digitize nearly 10,000 programs comprising more than 8,000 recorded hours that chronicle American and foreign affairs, providing access to original source material – including interviews with presidents and world leaders, and reports on major issues and events.

“No other broadcast on television has upheld the highest standards of the profession with such consistent devotion,” said Steven Roberts, journalist and professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.

The digitized PBS NewsHour collection will provide valuable primary-source material for historians to consider in their explorations into the recent past, especially in the areas of politics, policymaking and international affairs. The program will give scholars a previously unavailable source from which to study ideas and to illuminate what intellectual historian Daniel Rodgers recently characterized as “a multi-sided contest of arguments and social visions that ranged across the late 20th century.”

The programs feature interviews with leading newsmakers, including presidents, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, every secretary of state since 1976 and with world leaders including the Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, Fidel Castro, Muammar Khadafy, Yasser Arafat, Menachem Begin, Boris Yeltsin, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher.

The collection also includes extensive coverage of election campaigns, African-American history, global and domestic health care, poverty, technology, immigration debates, the end of the Cold War, terrorism, the economy, climate change, energy issues, religion, education issues, rural life, scientific exploration, poetry and the media.

The PBS NewsHour collection will be made available on the AAPB website and will effectively grow the online collection to more than 20,000 programs. The site can be accessed at http://americanarchive.org.

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