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The Important Job of Archiving Broadcast News

At Metro Monitor, we believe in the importance of not only recording and monitoring local and national news programs, but also in the importance of maintaining a deep archive of TV news programs.

The importance of maintaining an archive of local and national news programs was recently highlighted in a documentary film directed by Matt Wolf called Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project.


Recorder tells the fascinating story of Marion Stokes, a woman who recorded TV news programs twenty-four hours a day for over thirty years. She archived this amazing collection of news programs on over 70,000 VHS tapes. The collection contains video news coverage of historical events that would have been lost were it not for her efforts.

The massive collection of video tapes was donated by Marion’s family to the Television Archive at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. The Internet Archive is digitizing the videos in order to make the TV news content available to future generations.

“Effectively, you will only know afterwards what is important to have collected. So the more you have, the more you can then go back and say this is actually important.” – Quote from Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

This movie reminds us of the ephemeral nature of broadcast news. Even with today’s digital recording and storage technologies, maintaining deep archives of TV and Radio news programs remains a very challenging and valable undertaking.


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