Item Details

WSLS-TV (Roanoke, VA) News Film Collection, 1951 to 1971

WSLS-TV (Roanoke, VA) News Film Collection, 1951 to 1971

TitleWSLS-TV (Roanoke, VA) News Film Collection,
gregorianceinclusive1951 to 1971

In 2007, WSLS-TV of Roanoke, Va., gave news film and scripts from their mid-20th century broadcasts to the University of Virginia Library for preservation and use. The resulting collection spans 1951 to 1971 and comprises approximately 13,000 clips of 16mm film shown during news programs. It also contains roughly 18,000 pages of the accompanying scripts read on air by anchorpersons.

In 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a grant of $254,600 to the Library for the preservation and digitization of both the film and the paper scripts. The NEH designated the collection a part of its "We the People" initiative, which seeks to encourage and enhance the study and understanding of American history, culture, and democratic principles.

The WSLS-TV news film collection is now available to the public in digitized form through the Library's online catalog, Virgo. When a news clip and anchor script cover the same news story, the video and a PDF of the script will appear together in one catalog record. There are some news clips that do not have anchorperson scripts, and likewise, there are some scripts for which a matching video has not been found. These variations will be displayed in their own catalog records.

Content of the news stories varies greatly from soapbox derbies to civil rights demonstrations. Local affairs and politics, sports, community events and social occasions, and personalities of the Roanoke, Va., region constitute the bulk of the collection. Content also includes a significant amount of coverage of Massive Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia. National figures and issues that affected the Roanoke area, such as visits from U. S. presidents and the eradication of polio through vaccination, are also discoverable.

Each news story is searchable by both free-text keywords and controlled subject terms via Virgo. The WSLS-TV Roanoke, Va., News Film Collection record also offers date-based browsing.

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