This is a project update on the Broadcast Script Digitization Project.
One of the major challenges in preservation of early news footage is that it was largely recorded without any soundtrack.The earliest news film in the NBC5/KXAS (WBAP) collection is completely silent, and was meant to be accompanied during a live broadcast by a news anchor reading from a prepared script. In many cases the scripts which originally accompanied the news film have been lost to time, any only the silent footage remains, completely lacking in any contextual information as to what event are taking place. Even the most basic information, such as the date or place the film was recorded, is gone forever. Footage out of context may be interesting, but can be challenging, if not impossible, to use for research.
Luckily, the NBC 5/KXAS Archive contains an almost comprehensive broadcast script library which matches the the daily news film recorded on 16 mm film. There are hundreds of thousands of pages of scripts in the collection which recorded dates, places, and most importantly, description of the events taking place on the mostly silent film. It is from these scripts that we are able to determine that a woman seen stepping off an airplane at Carter Field in Fort Worth is a survivor of Andrea Doria shipwreck in 1956, or that a particular reel of film which is labeled only with a date actually contains footage of desegregation protests in Dallas.
Since our understanding of the film portion of the collection is so dependent upon the information contained within the script library, for the past year archivists and librarians at UNT have been engaged in digitizing the entire script series.We consider this an important first step in the eventual digitization of the entire collection. You can follow along with our progress on the Script Digitization Project by viewing scripts which we have already made available on the Portal to Texas History. As of December 2016 we have nearly completed digitization of the first decade of scripts, raging in date from 1951-1960.
The earliest script in the collection dates from January 3, 1951, and provides a detailed overview of the 1951 Cotton Bowl match-up between the University of Texas and the University of Tennessee.