Boston public broadcaster WGBH’s Media Library and Archives is partnering with the Boston Public Library, Cambridge Community TV and Northeast Historic Film to develop “The Boston TV News Digital Library: 1960-2000,” an online collection of the city’s television news heritage, it announced today (March 14). The initiative will draw on some 70,000 news stories from commercial, noncommercial and community cable television to create a central online catalog. Among the footage: A young Harvard student, Barack Obama, speaking at its law school in 1990; civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 after leading a local march of 5,000; and Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit. WGBH Archives is providing copies of its programs The Ten O’Clock News (1976-91), The Reporters (1970-73) and Evening Compass (1973-75).
Every station should be doing this. Not everyone has a deep catalog like WGBH, but this is a fundamental mission of a public media company — preserving local media (of note) in digital form and sharing it openly online (and in other formats as needed).
If you’re not putting media out there for the public in a way that the public can use, you’re not part of “public media.”