Back to Press Releases

The Paley Center for Media in Partnership with NATAS and TVB Honors Outstanding Local Programming

Monday, June 30, 2008

New York, NY—The Paley Center for Media, in partnership with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), today announced the names of twenty-three local television programs that have been selected for inclusion in the Paley Center’s permanent collection. The announcement follows a national call for submissions that went out to stations across the country. Local stations were invited to submit work in two categories: (a) contemporary work produced between January 2006 and June 2007; or (b) a historic work produced anytime prior to 2000.

Formats ranged from documentaries and news reports to special cultural presentations, PSAs, and drives supporting local community efforts. The principal criterion for inclusion in the Paley Center’s collection was the impact that the given program had on the local community; stations were asked to submit supporting evidence of how their program had resulted in a change, development, or improvement in community life.

NATAS and the Paley Center’s curatorial team reviewed a diverse range of programming from across the country and selected twenty-three programs to become a part of the Center’s permanent collection. The programs selected will be available for viewing at the Paley Center’s libraries in both the New York and Los Angeles facilities. The Paley Center is home to the nation’s foremost public archive of television and radio programming, a collection of more than 140,000 programs covering almost 100 years of television and radio history.

The programs selected for inclusion range from an investigative report on the security loopholes at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, a program that resulted in numerous arrests and a federal investigation (Fly at Your Own Risk, WBBM-TV) to a look back at one family’s fight against segregation and discrimination in California schools (Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children, KOCE-TV).

“Local television is replete with examples of stations’ programming really making a difference in their markets,” said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media. “We are delighted to honor some of the best examples of this from across the country as a way of recognizing how effective local television has been in conveying important information while generating positive community actions.”

Programs Selected for the Paley Center’s Collection

Gang Violence; KGET-TV / Bakersfield, California; 2005—07. In December 2005 a young teen was shot and killed inside a Bakersfield mall. Over several months KGET’s Jim Scott investigated the issue, talking with community activists, elected officials, and gang members. KGET also aired a community forum on gang violence—an hour discussion of the problem and possible remedies.

Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children; KOCE-TV / Huntington Beach, California and Sandra Robbie; September 17, 2007. KOCE-TV probes the history of segregation and discrimination in Orange County, California, schools, and how the Mendez family’s valiant fight for equality led to the end of legalized segregation in the state and set the precedent for Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, the famous 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that declared segregation unconstitutional.  

Ya Es Hora Cuidadania!; KMEX-TV / Los Angeles, California; January to December 2007. KMEX was among the participants in this ambitious U.S. citizen campaign, launched in the wake of Congress’s failure to institute comprehensive immigration reform in 2006, to inform, educate, and motivate legal permanent residents to apply for citizenship. The movement was so successful that it surpassed its goal of one million new applicants.

First Live U.S. Chinese-Language Newscast; KTSF-TV / San Francisco, California; February 6, 1989. This program was the first, live local Chinese-language newscast in the United States, reporting on issues vital to San Francisco's Chinese community.  Less than four months after the launch of the newscast, KTSF was uniquely positioned to cover the Tiananmen Square protests dramatically unfolding in China.

A Legacy of Trust: The Black Hawk Broadcasting Company Story; KWWL-TV / Waterloo, Iowa and the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting, September 14, 2007. This contemporary documentary tells the story of R. J. McElroy and the founding and ensuing legacy of KWWL Television, as well as the impact the station has had on the eastern Iowa community it serves.

Alex Scott: A Stand for Hope; KYW-TV / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; June, 2006. This contemporary documentary recounts the story of Alex Scott, the little girl who suffered from (and eventually died of) a rare form of childhood cancer, and her efforts to raise a million dollars to fight the disease by selling lemonade at her stand. The foundation named for Alex Scott has now raised more than eighteen million dollars for pediatric cancer research.

Fly at Your Own Risk; WBBM-TV / Chicago, Illinois; 2006—07. What began with a tip about a bomb threat on an airplane evolved into a year-long series of hard-hitting investigative pieces that exposed major security loopholes at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, resulting in numerous arrests and raids and an ongoing federal investigation.  

Dance Party: The Teenarama Story; WHUT / Howard University Television, Washington, D.C.; 2006. This contemporary documentary tells the story of The Teenarama Dance Party, the WOOK-TV dance program for African American teenagers. Teenarama was created partly in response to an existing all-white (except for all “Black Tuesdays”) teen dance program, and ran from 1963 to 1970, making it the longest-running African American teen dance show of the 1960s. The story of The Teenarama Dance Party is told through interviews, narration, archival footage, and reenactments.

Command Mistake, WISH-TV / Indianapolis, Indiana; 2006. This contemporary series of special reports examines and exposes the negligence of U.S. military officials at all levels who failed to ensure the proper distribution and use of existing protective helmet padding for soldiers on duty in Iraq, resulting in many avoidable serious head injuries. 

Tony Kiritis Hostage Standoff; WISH-TV / Indianapolis, Indiana; 1977. This historic special report recounts a bizarre local incident which occurred in 1977, when a disgruntled land owner took his mortgage broker hostage, wired a shotgun against his hostage’s neck, and paraded him around Indianapolis for sixty-three hours, in what can be viewed as a forerunner of the “live breaking news” continuing coverage which has since become so prevalent.

Robert F. Kennedy Announces Martin Luther King Assassination; WISH-TV / Indianapolis, Indiana; April 4, 1968. This historic special report covers the speech which Robert F. Kennedy gave to a predominantly African-American crowd in Indianapolis on the day that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered. In what had been scheduled as a campaign stop in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, it fell to Kennedy to break the tragic news to much of his audience, and he delivered an extremely eloquent, extemporaneous speech.

Solutions: Safer Streets; WISH-TV / Indianapolis, Indiana; 2006 and continuing. This contemporary series consists of a one-hour special and continuing special reports in which WISH-TV invited government leaders, law enforcement officials, members of neighborhood associations, and others to offer their ideas for solutions to the increasing violence and murder rate in the city of Indianapolis. In place of commercials, breaks in the one-hour special were filled by PSAs related to the issue of violence. An online component to the program allowed viewers to email their ideas to the station, as well as provided links to resources for those affected by violence.

Rebirth on the Waterfront; WIVB-TV / Buffalo, New York; December 19, 2006. Once called “The Queen City of the Great Lakes,” Buffalo has witnessed a century of disappointment at failed attempts to develop the shores of Lake Erie. In this one-hour documentary, WIVB-TV traces the rise and fall of the city’s waterfront, but ultimately tells a story of rebirth of spirit led by new efforts to revitalize the once-bustling district.  

Lost Childhood: The Story of the Birkenau Boys; WIVB-TV / Buffalo, New York; August 31, 1995. Correspondent Rich Newberg and photographer Mike Mombrea, Jr., accompany a group of Holocaust survivors on their return to Aushwitz-Birkenau, Poland, the site of the Nazi death camp where many of their friends and family members were slaughtered. A breakthrough program for Buffalo television, Lost Childhood took local viewers inside places in Birkenau that had never been seen before by any audience, and a teacher’s guide was created based on the documentary.

Our Two Most Cherished Rights; WIVB-TV / Buffalo, New York; April 6, 1999. With tensions running extremely high following the assassination of Buffalo abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, and as anti-abortion activists mobilized for a coming mass demonstration, WIVB served an invaluable community function by presenting this balanced, thoughtful exploration of all sides of the issue, including a new effort at dialogue called Common Ground. The piece also broke ground in revealing a dialogue Dr. Slepian had begun with pro-life leaders.

A Life in the Balance: Plight of Mental Illness; WIVB-TV / Buffalo, New York; February 3, 1999. Following a series of tragic incidents involving psychiatric patients, this piece explored the struggles of outpatients in a flawed mental-health system, weighing the right of society to protect itself against the rights of individuals to live their lives independent of institutions and government restrictions.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo; WNED-TV / Buffalo, NY; August 31, 2006. The legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo is a deep and rich one, spanning more than thirty years of the legendary architect’s long career. This documentary illuminates a key period that is largely unknown to a national audience: the support of Buffalo businessman Darwin Martin in sustaining Wright’s architecture.

New York Voices: Greenpoint v. ExxonMobil; Thirteen/WNET / NY; May 11, 2007. For over fifty years, residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, have been living atop an oil spill estimated to be between 17 - 30 million gallons left behind by over 100 years of oil refining on Newtowk Creek, contaminating the water and seeping into the surrounding land. Thirteen/WNET’s Emmy Award-winning series New York Voices investigated this under-reported pollution crisis and related health issues, educating the public about the environmental impact of the spill and helping to spur action by the state government. 

Magnum’s Force: The Pulse of a Caring Community; WPLG-ABC Local 10 News / Miami, Florida; January 2006—June 2007.  This contemporary community services presentation consists of stories in which some members of the community ask for help, while others who are in a position to do so offer their help and resources. These segments provide South Florida residents with an interactive means to address some of the problems they would normally only watch on local television news.

One Year in Brownsville; WQED-TV / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 2006. This contemporary documentary/special report profiles the town of Brownsville, near Pittsburgh.  A thriving river town until its business district fell into decline and was nearly abandoned, Brownsville’s struggle to recover was covered for one year by WQED-TV, generating interest in the town’s recovery among citizens ranging from volunteers to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

A Day in the Sun:  Jacksonville University’s Miracle Run; First Coast News: WTLV NBC-12 and WJXX ABC-25; 2006.  This contemporary documentary tells the story of the Jacksonville University basketball team’s reaching the finals of the 1970 NCAA Tournament, a feat that united a city which was being torn apart by turbulent times and racial strife.

Flood of 1955; WVIT-NBC30, (formerly WKNB) / West Hartford, Connecticut; 1955. Flood of 1955 is a historic documentary news story on the big Connecticut flood of 1955.  This footage has been incorporated into WVIT’s anniversary programs.

Partners in a Caring Community; WVIT-NBC 30 / West Hartford, Connecticut; 2006. This contemporary community campaign presentation consists of brief promo segments and one news package, “Autism Speaks,” all of which showcase the involvement of WVIT-NBC 30 in the community it serves.  WVIT worked with such organizations as Race for the Cure and Habitat for Humanity, as well as participating in a community Health and Wellness outdoor fair.

The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry.  For more information, please visit

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, Technology & Engineering, and Business & Financial Reporting.  Excellence in Primetime programming and international programming is recognized by its affiliate, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Regional Emmy® Awards are given in 19 regions across the United States. Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including National Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public.  For more information, please visit the website at

The Television Bureau of Advertising is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s broadcast television industry. Its members include television broadcast groups, advertising sales reps, syndicators, international broadcasters, associate members and over 600 individual television stations. TVB promotes the benefits of local broadcast television platforms to the advertising community and in doing so works to develop advertising dollars for U.S. Spot Television. TVB provides a diverse variety of tools and resources, including its website at, to support its Members and to help advertisers make the best use of local television.