TV News Junkies, Rejoice

Big news for news junkies!

The Internet Archive, the huge array of public, online, digital libraries, is to post hundreds of thousands of U.S. television news programs, aided by a $1-million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

That will allow anyone to search or borrow news clips from one website.

Reasoning that news coverage on television stations too rapidly disappears from public view, Knight Foundation officials said the project’s goal is to provide journalists, researchers, and members of the public with ready access to news, from an extensive, user-friendly site.

Inside Cable News;; Wikimedia Commons
The initiative will expand the Internet Archive’s its TV News Search & Borrow service, which already includes 400,000 broadcasts dating back to 2009. The service uses closed captioning to allow users to search, quote, and borrow U.S. TV news programs, at no charge, using a searchable database. Once users find footage of interest, they can watch 30-second samples online, or borrow programming on DVD-ROM.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library founded in 1996 with support from libraries and foundations. It provides ready, universal access to preserved cultural artifacts – sound and film recordings, and the like. Every day, more than three million users use its digital collections, which hold music, books, moving images, and more than 300 billion archived web pages.

The Knight Foundation is a Miami-based nonprofit that promotes journalism, media innovation, and the arts, and public engagement with those.

As part of the Knight Foundation-supported expansion of the TV News Search project, the new funding will allow integration with the collections of the service’s media partners – if the networks, for example, ever agree to share more freely their archived programs. Roger Macdonald, Internet Archive television news project director, said in a press release that, thanks to the service, “documentarians are finding key news footage to license. Educators are showing their students how news stories are told and audiences are engaged. Researchers are using it to identify important trends across the media landscape.”

For example, he said, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media and Harvard University’s Berkman Center used such resources to trace the role of television news in shaping public perceptions of the fatal shooting in 2012 of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager. The Internet Archive’s TV database also provided access to U.S. presidential-election coverage in 2012; the Archive’s stated goal, in that case, was to help voters make informed judgments of politicians’ statements and also how responsibly news media were covering candidates’ campaigns.

Categories: News

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