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The University of Texas at Austin


Message from Director Don Carleton

October 2017

Dr. Don Carleton, Executive Directory of the Briscoe Center

Earlier this month, the center was proud to host renowned journalist Dan Rather for a symposium celebrating the launch of our latest digital humanities project, Dan Rather: American Journalist. The symposium, which took place on campus at the Moody College for Communication, also included a panel discussion with three former CBS producers—Dana Roberson, John Reade, and Jim Murphy—who have all worked closely with Rather.

I’d like to thank Dana, John, and Jim for journeying to Austin for the symposium. I’d also like to thank Dr. Paul Stekler, acclaimed documentary filmmaker and professor in UT’s Department of Radio-Television-Film (Chair, 2010–17), who moderated a lively and informative discussion. Finally, Dan Rather was ably interviewed by R.B. Brenner, Pulitzer Prize-winning director of the School of Journalism here at UT — many thanks, R.B.

The symposium was very well attended—we had to use two different spill-over rooms to accommodate everybody! In particular it was encouraging to see so many students in attendance, soaking up the decades of collective wisdom from Dan, Dana, Jim, and John. The center has a wide range of activities that have direct application to the university’s teaching mission, and I’m grateful to have colleagues like R. B., Paul, and Dr. Jay Bernhardt, dean of the Moody College, who are such enthusiastic collaborators.

Projects like Dan Rather: American Journalist represent a lion’s share of the future for archives and research centers that want to curate and share historical collections with students, scholars, and members of the public. Practically speaking, these projects are repositories—online storehouses filled with digitized documents, photographs, and videos that can be easily searched and viewed. But they are so much more as well. For example, the Rather site gives visitors unparalleled access to the historic workings of the American news media industry.

The center will launch other digital projects in the future. However, I’m also excited about the center’s upcoming array of publications, exhibitions, and public programs. First, the center just published, A War Remembered, which is available for purchase on the UT Press website. Featuring an essay by my friend Mark Updegrove, the book recounts the 2016 Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library, which the center co-sponsored. A War Remembered features photographs and documentation from the summit alongside historic photographs from the collections of the Briscoe Center and the LBJ Library, offering a diverse perspective on the conflict that defined a generation.

Second, on November 5, I will moderate a panel at the Texas Book Festival about the center’s book, Eddie Adams: Bigger Than the Frame. I’ll be joined for the panel (12 p.m. at Austin’s Contemporary Arts Museum) by Anne Tucker, who contributed an extensive essay to the book, and by Alyssa Adams, who wrote the preface and played a critical role in its preparation. We hope you can join us. Finally, on November 10, the center will open its new exhibit, Struggle for Justice, which documents four decades of civil rights photography from Jim Crow to Black Power. Look out for an email from the center before our November e-news with further details.

Don Carleton, Ph.D.
Executive Director
J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History