In the twentieth century, U.S. filmmakers generated tens of thousands of hours of newsfilm that was screened in movie theaters or viewed on television sets across the country. This vast output of news coverage, covering the period from the 1910s to the 1970s, has not been matched by a scholarly effort to understand it. To address this persistent oversight, this symposium will, for the first time in the United States, bring together many of the nation’s leading newsfilm scholars and archivists to present new and foundational work that is featured in the new book Rediscovering U.S. Newsfilm: Cinema, Television and the Archive (AFI/Routledge, 2018), edited by Mark Cooper, Sara Levavy, Ross Melnick, and Mark Williams. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Thursday, October 25

4:30 – 5:15 PM:        Welcome and editors’ introductions (Wallis Annenberg Conference Room)

7:00 – 9:00 PM:    “Rediscovering U.S. Newsfilm: Gems from the Archive” public screening event at the Pollock Theater
Visit this page for reservations


Friday, October 26
(Wallis Annenberg Conference Room)

9:00 – 10:00 AM:  Newsfilm and the U.S. Government

Ken Hough, UC Santa Barbara

Greg Wilsbacher, University of South Carolina, Moving Image Research Collections

10:15 – 11:15 AM:  Newsfilm: An Intermedia Archive?

Sara Levavy, Independent Scholar

Shawn VanCour, UCLA

David Seubert, UC Santa Barbara, Library Special Collections

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: History and Liveness: News in Television and the Home

Mark Williams, Dartmouth College

Mark Quigley, UCLA Film & Television Archive

12:30 – 1:30 PM: lunch for conference participants

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Newsfilm: One Genre or Several?

Dan Streible, New York University

Jennifer Peterson, Woodbury University

Jeffrey Bickel, UCLA Film & Television Archive

2:45 – 3:45 PM: Is All News Local?

Michael Aronson, University of Oregon

Caroline Frick, University of Texas – Austin

4:00 – 5:00 PM: Is All News Transnational?

Joseph Clark, Simon Fraser University

Ross Melnick, UC Santa Barbara

Blaine Bartell, UCLA Film & Television Archive

5:15 – 6:15 PM: History-Making with Newsfilm

Mark Cooper, University of South Carolina

Ruta Abolins, University of Georgia Library

Karen Cariani, WGBH Media Library and Archives


Saturday, October 27
(Wallis Annenberg Conference Room)

9:30 AM – 12:15 PM: Mapping the Future of Newsfilm Research workshops

Ruta Abolins is Director of the Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. She has over twenty years of experience in audiovisual archive preservation. Abolins received her MA. in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, her MA. in Popular Culture from Bowling Green State University, and her B.F.A. in Filmmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She and her team at UGA received a regional Emmy award for “How We Got Over,” a collaborative project with civil rights leader Andrew Young, which focused on the preservation and access of newsfilm content from the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection and the creation of the Civil Rights Digital Library.

Michael Aronson is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Cinema Studies at the University of Oregon. His work on the history of American film has appeared in a number of journals including Film History, The Moving Image, and Cinema Journal.  He is the author of Nickelodeon City, Pittsburgh at the Movies, 1905-1929, a study of exhibition and moviegoing culture in the ‘Burgh.

Blaine M. Bartell is the Principal Newsreel Preservationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, where he has been a member of the preservation staff since 1984. He has preserved over three quarters of a million feet of news film; among the more noteworthy include coverage of the attempted assassination of then President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, the Hindenburg explosion, the Japanese attack on the USS Panay, Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse, the D-Day invasion, and the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Lagoon. He has spoken on newsreel preservation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto, the Pacific Film Archive at UC Berkeley, and Harvard University. His work has been published in the Journal of Film Preservation.

Jeffrey S. Bickel is the Senior Newsreel Preservationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, where he has been a member of the preservation staff since 1995. He has preserved hundreds of thousands of feet of news film; among the more noteworthy are the Armistice celebrations at the end of WWI, President Theodore Roosevelt’s funeral, coverage of Mexico in the 1930s and 40s, the Montgomery bus boycott, school desegregation, and coverage of the Six-Day War. He has also preserved documentaries and actualities as part of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project and has restored the feature documentaries The Forgotten Village and The Battle of Russia.

Karen Cariani is the David O. Ives Executive Director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA) and Project Director for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB). The MLA provides access to the WGBH archives by providing circulation, accessioning, and preservation activities, in addition to licensing services. Karen has more than twenty years of television production experience and has directed numerous projects including: WGBH’s Teachers’ Domain, now PBS Learning Media; WGBH Open Vault; the Boston Local TV News Digital Library project; and a digital media preservation system utilizing the Hydra technology in partnership with Indiana University. She has been active in the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), serving two terms on its Board of Directors (2001-2005) and co-chairing its Copyright and Open Source committees as well its Local Television Task Force, on which she served as Project Director for the guidebook “Local Television: A Guide to Saving Our Heritage” (funded by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission). She has co-chaired, for the Library of Congress, the National Stewardship Digital Alliance working group on Infrastructure and served as president of Digital Commonwealth. She is passionate about the use of media archives and digital library collections for learning and education, and has a particular affinity for science.

Joseph Clark is a Lecturer in Film Studies in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. His book, News Parade: The American Newsreel and the Mediation of the Public Sphere, 1927-1946 will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2018. His writing on the newsreel as well as educational film, documentary, and the history of non-fiction film exhibition appears in The Moving Image, Useful Cinema: Expanding Film Contexts (Duke), and Getting the Picture: The History & Visual Culture of the News (Bloomsbury). He is the co-chair of the Nontheatrical Film and Media Special Interest Group of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and a programmer for the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada.

Mark Garrett Cooper is Director and Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of South Carolina. From 2009 to 2013 he served as Interim Director of the University’s Moving Image Research Collections. An historian of media-making institutions, he has authored Universal Women: Filmmaking and Institutional Change in Early Hollywood (Illinois University Press 2010—a Choice Outstanding Academic Title), Love Rules: Silent Hollywood and the Rise of the Managerial Class (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), and, with John Marx, Media U: How the Need to Win Audiences Has Shaped Higher Education (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Caroline Frick is an Associate Professor in the Radio-TV-Film Department at The University of Texas at Austin and the founder and Executive Director of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, an organization devoted to the discovery and preservation of media related to the state. TAMI’s online library offers thousands of newly discovered historical films and video free of charge via www.texasarchive.org. Prior to her work in Texas, Dr. Frick worked in film preservation at Warner Bros., the Library of Congress, and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. She also programmed films for the American Movie Classics cable channel in New York and served for four years as the President of the Board for the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Oxford University Press published her book Saving Cinema in 2011, and her essays have appeared in a variety of journals including the International Journal of Heritage Studies, The Moving Image, The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, and The Journal of Popular Film and Video.

Kenneth Hough is a lecturer in history and engineering ethics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also works as a historical interpreter at Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently working on a book manuscript based on his doctoral dissertation, Rising Sun Over America: Imagining a Japanese Conquest of the United States, 1900-1945 which traces the development and influence of Japanese invasion fears in twentieth century American culture. His research interests include speculative warfare and war scares, U.S.-Japanese relations, film and media history, and the cultural history of drones.

Sara Beth Levavy is a scholar whose research focuses on interwar newsreels from the United States as narrative and historical objects. Levavy has taught art and media history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Utah, and The Courtauld Institute of Art and her research has been published in Film History.

Ross Melnick is an Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. His most recent book is American Showman: Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry (Columbia University Press, 2012). His articles have appeared in Cinema Journal, Film History, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, The Moving Image, and in numerous edited collections. His research and teaching focuses on film exhibition, silent and contemporary cinema, historical media industries, moving image journalism, radio history, and moving image archive studies. He was named an NEH Fellow in 2015 and an Academy Film Scholar in 2017 for his forthcoming book on Hollywood’s operation of global movie theaters from 1923 to 2013.

Jennifer Peterson is the author of Education in the School of Dreams: Travelogues and Early Nonfiction Film (Duke University Press, 2013). Her articles have been published in Cinema Journal, Camera Obscura, The Moving Image, the Getty Research Journal, and numerous edited collections. She is currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Woodbury University in Los Angeles.

Mark Quigley has been with the UCLA Film & Television Archive for over sixteen years, supervising public access and reference services, writing grant projects, and developing and co-curating online access initiatives, select preservation projects and public programs. His publications include the television reference book Hallmark Hall of Fame: The First 50 Years (2001); online projects include In the Life: 20 years of LGBT News and Public Affairs Television, the UCLA KTLA Newsfilm Project, and Goldbergs on the Radio. Symposia projects include Reimagining the Archive (UCLA, 2010), and This is the City: Preserving Moving Images of Los Angeles (UCLA, 2015). In 2017, he was curator of the ten-week retrospective screening series Golden Age Television Writers on the Big Screen at the Archive’s Billy Wilder Theater in Los Angeles, California. Quigley holds an M.F.A. from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Digital Media and previously taught in the former Moving Image Archive Studies (MIAS) graduate program at UCLA.

David Seubert has been the curator of the Performing Arts Collection at UCSB since 1998, where he manages the performing arts archives and the recorded sound collections. He is project director of the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive, the library’s online collection of early sound recordings, and the Discography of American Historical Recordings, a research project documenting early sound recordings. Both are internationally recognized projects to make early sound recordings more widely accessible to scholars and the public. He has degrees in music from Oberlin College and Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. David has taught courses in Audiovisual Archives Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and consulted on audio preservation issues for various American organizations. He is a Past President of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, a professional association of audio archivists and librarians, and an appointed member of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board.

Dan Streible is associate professor in New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies and associate director of its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) master’s degree program. He teaches courses in film history, curating moving images, archival research, and nonfiction media. Since 1999, he has directed the Orphan Film Symposium, which he co-founded at the University of South Carolina. His books include Fight Pictures: A History of Boxing and Early Cinema (2008) and Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States (2012, edited with Devin Orgeron and Marsha Gordon). Past publications have included essays and edited journal issues about small-gauge and amateur film; nontheatrical media; health education films; media artist and DIY preservationist Helen Hill; and films by Bill Morrison. Working with NYU MIAP students and alumni he produced three DVD compilations of orphan film and video works. As an Academy Film Scholar he is currently writing a book entitled Orphan Films: Saving, Studying, and Screening Neglected Cinema.

Carol Swain is an archivist for the Special Media Division, Research Services, of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). She currently works on digitization and access projects for the Special Media Division’s holdings of photographs, cartographic records, architectural drawings, motion pictures, video and sound recordings. She has also served as a reference archivist for NARA’s Motion Picture branch. Prior to coming to NARA, Carol worked in independent video and film production, and for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  She received her Bachelor of Science in Film and Video from Boston University’s College of Communication, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute in New York.

Shawn VanCour is Assistant Professor of Media Archival Studies in UCLA’s Department of Information Studies. His research areas include radio and television history, media industries, sound studies, and critical studies of media archiving. Publications include Making Radio: Early Radio Production and the Rise of Modern Sound Culture (Oxford University Press, 2018) and essays in Critical Studies in Media CommunicationMedia, Culture & SocietyJournal of Material CultureJournal of Radio and Audio MediaModernist Cultures, and various anthologies.

Mark Williams is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College. He has published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Télévision: le moment expérimental (1935-1955); Convergence Media History; New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality; Collecting Visible Evidence; Dietrich Icon; Television, History, and American Culture: Feminist Critical Essays; and In Living Color: Race, Feminism, and Television. In conjunction with the Dartmouth College Library, he is the founding editor of an e-journal, The Journal of e-Media Studies. With Adrian Randolph, he co-edits the book series Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture for the University Press of New England. He is director of The Media Ecology Project (MEP) and has published about MEP in The Arclight Guidebook to Media History and The Digital Humanities (2016), and in The Moving Image (2016).

Greg Wilsbacher’s doctoral work in medieval literature at Indiana University left him with an abiding affection for the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Nancy, neither of whom have made their way into his current work on newsreels and military cinematography (at least not yet). As Curator of Newsfilm and Military Collections at the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections, he has been highly involved in the theoretical and practical development of digital surrogates of celluloid motion picture film as a preservation strategy. This work led to the development of the AEO-Light 2 Project, which created and distributes open-source software that extracts digital audio from film scans. His current research interest include the history of American silent newsreels, with an emphasis on Fox News, the evolution of optical sound technologies, and the activities of Signal Corps and Combat Camera filmmakers during World War II. He is a Board member of the non-profit Envisioning History, and a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works’ National Heritage Responders.

Charles Wolfe is a Professor of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of two books on the films of director Frank Capra and has published widely on various aspects of the history of commercial, independent, and documentary filmmaking in the U.S. With Edward Branigan, he co-edits the American Film Institute’s Film Reader Series, which to date has published 30 volumes of new critical essays on topics of contemporary concern in film, television, and new media studies. A member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies from 2006 to 2009, Wolfe also has served as a consulting scholar for the New York Center for Visual History’s American Cinema Project, as a member of the AFI’s Academic Advisory Council, and as a Rockefeller Fellow at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. Wolfe received the Outstanding Pedagogy Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in 2011, and is a past recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSB Academic Senate. He chaired the Department of Film and Media Studies from 1994 to 1998, and served as Associate Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts in the College of Letters and Science at UCSB from 2003 to 2008.

Sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center, the College of Letters and Sciences, the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts,
the Center for Cold War Studies, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and the Department of Film and Media Studies.

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