The oldest television station in the Southwest, started 65 years ago in Fort Worth, has teamed with the fourth-largest university in Texas to preserve some of the most historic news film in the state.
KXAS-TV/Channel 5, which last month moved from its historic home on Broadcast Hill in east Fort Worth to a spot near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, announced this week it was donating thousands of film reels spanning a three-decade period to the University of North Texas Libraries in Denton.
The local station pioneered television news gathering in Texas and for years produced the highly acclaimed nightly program, “The Texas News,” generally presented in a newsreel format and featuring the top stories and light features of the day. The original scripts still accompany much of the vintage footage and will provide more context for the visual images, station officials said.
The selection of UNT to house, archive and digitize the film reels is especially appropriate because the university’s massive “The Portal to Texas History” project is designed to make millions of historical files available to the public online.
Since 2002 when the portal was established, the UNT Libraries Digital Projects Unit has been working to scan and catalog all kinds of documents capturing Texas history, from old maps and photographs to firsthand accounts of the Civil War; from case files on Bonnie and Clyde to the Dallas Police Department collection on the John F. Kennedy assassination; from old daily newspapers of Texas to an 1835 “Guide to Texas Emigrants.”
Through this project, much of Texas’ past will be easily accessible, literally at the fingertips of researchers, students, genealogy enthusiasts and history buffs.
In addition to receiving high praise from the Texas Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, UNT’s digital preservation work has been lauded in international circles as a high-ranking digital repository.
The Channel 5 footage, with a unique local and statewide emphasis, will be a gold mine of information, particularly for people who are interested in North Texas news events from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
It is good to know this treasure will be in good hands permanently at UNT Libraries.