November 26, 2020

Now Available to Stream From the American Archive of Public Broadcasting: Gavel-to-Gavel TV Coverage of Senate Watergate Hearings

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From the Library of Congress:

2017-11-03_10-58-51The Library of Congress and Boston public broadcaster WGBH announced today that gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973, donated to the Library by WETA Washington, D.C., has been digitally preserved and made available online.

Produced by the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT), the hearings were taped during the day and rebroadcast every evening on public television for 51 days, from May 17 to Nov. 15. These broadcasts became one of the most popular series in public broadcasting history.

For the first time in 44 years, these riveting moments in history will once again be available to the American public through an online presentation—“Gavel-to-Gavel: The Watergate Scandal and Public Television”—on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) website.

AAPB is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH to preserve and make accessible significant at-risk public media.

The presentation will provide access to all the coverage, a highlights reel, episode guide and an essay putting the coverage into historical perspective.

Vsitors to the online exhibit—curated by 2017 Library of Congress Junior Fellow Amanda Reichenbach—will see firsthand the memorable personalities involved in this national drama and the revelations that ultimately led to resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Journalists Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer worked together for the first time as anchors to bring balanced commentary, allowing viewers to experience the full hearings and make their own informed opinions.  The coverage became a model for public television and, later, C-SPAN.

Each episode of the coverage begins with about five minutes of commentary by MacNeil and Lehrer, including a recap of what happened during that day’s hearing. The hearings range from two to seven hours in length. The anchors close out with a 10- to 20-minute wrap-up with experts and interviews conducted by correspondent Peter Kaye.

The Senate Watergate Committee conducted its investigation in three phases: Watergate (May 17–Sept. 25), Campaign Practices or “Dirty Tricks” (Sept. 26–Nov. 6) and Campaign Finance (Nov. 7–Nov. 15). Coverage by NPACT of the subsequent House impeachment hearings in May and July 1974 also has been digitized and made available online.

After acquiring the tapes, the Library digitized nearly 352 hours of NPACT’s continuous coverage. The digital content was transferred to WGBH for inclusion in AAPB.

Nearly a third of AAPB’s complete collection of 50,000 hours of preserved public TV and radio content is now available online for research, educational and informational purposes.

Direct to American Archive of Public Broadcasting

A Selection of the Many AAPB Items Posted on infoDOCKET

American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) Launches a Crowdsourcing Game (April 20, 2017)

American Archive of Public Broadcasting Launches “Speaking and Protesting in America” Online Exhibition (July 25, 2017)

American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) Releases New Online Exhibit About the TV Newsmagzine (July 8, 2017)

 WGBH Awarded $1 Million Grant by Mellon Foundation to Support American Archive of Public Broadcasting

The Rosa Parks Collection Digitized and Now Available Online (February 26, 2016)

Plan to Digitize 32 Years of PBS NewsHour Programs (1975-2007) and Make Them Available Online Announced Today (January 28, 2016)

Exciting! American Archive of Public Broadcasting Launches With 7,000 Items Available to Stream Online (October 27, 2015)

Library of Congress Selected as New Home of American Archive of Public Broadcasting (November 14, 2013)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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