May 17th, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Senate Watergate Committee hearings. James Pilkington, administrator of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and Ron Moulton, television systems technician decided to record the hearings. The Archive continued to record the hearings throughout the summer and into 1974. As the cameras rolled, the nation watched President Nixon’s resignation from office on the evening of August 8th, 1974 on live television. Their foresight and dedication ensured the preservation of this critical historical event. However, due to staffing constraints and the relentless nature of news cycles, a sizable portion of the recorded tapes remained unseen by the public.
Fifty years later, about half of the recorded tapes were never made public. To honor the 50th anniversary, the TV News Archive’s staff has embarked on a special project to publish the previously unreleased recordings on the archive’s website, tvnews.vanderbilt.edu. The endeavor aims to provide researchers, scholars, and the public with access to a comprehensive collection of these invaluable historical resources.
The Vanderbilt Television News Archive is committed to preserving cultural memory and is continually expanding its coverage of television news content by investing in technological advancements and infrastructure improvements and enhancing the description and preservation of its collection. The Watergate collection project is an integral part of efforts to provide researchers with a comprehensive understanding of the available resources. By digitizing and ensuring long-term accessibility, the archive safeguards historical events, cultural commentary, and media representations for future generations. It serves as an educational resource, enabling the study of media history, societal attitudes, and the evolution of cultural norms.
Video Archivist Steve Davis will be leading and facilitating access and processing of the Watergate archival video. He can help students or staff with exclusive access to video content, for the creation of montages, mini documentaries, or clips. Curator Nathan Jones will lead the dive into University Archives materials for the campus perspective on Watergate. Scroll to the bottom of this index to see what is currently available.
For more information about the Vanderbilt Televisions News Archive, visit https://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu