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Briscoe Center launches The Pioneers Who Changed TV News


The Briscoe Center proudly presents The Pioneers Who Changed TV News, an exhibit on the evolution of news media that focuses on the pathbreaking show 60 Minutes. Currently holding the record for the longest continuously running program of any genre scheduled during American network prime time, 60 Minutes has had its share of controversies as well as praise, winning more awards than any other television show.

“The exhibit draws from the archives of the show’s producers and correspondents, many of which are housed at the center. While they give visitors a backstage pass to the show’s inner workings, the primary value of these archives lies in what they reveal about American history,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “They allow us to track the events, personalities, and trends of the past through the critical eyes of the professionals who documented and researched them at the time.”

The Pioneers Who Changed TV News The Pioneers Who Changed TV News The Pioneers Who Changed TV News

Conceived as a “a kind of magazine for television,” 60 Minutes has become one of the most important, and at times controversial, news programs in American history. Known in the industry as a “producer show,” each correspondent worked with a team of researchers and producers responsible for multiple stories. The Briscoe Center houses the archives of producers, researchers, and correspondents connected with the show, including Marion Goldin, Morley Safer, Andy Rooney, Phil Scheffler, Joe Wershba, Harry Reasoner, and George Crile III.

These archives reveal the ideas, process, and perspectives of multiple news teams over a 50-year period, as revealed through artifacts, scripts, photographs, personal notes, and correspondence. Some of television news media’s most well-known investigations are featured, including “What Really Happened at Tonkin Gulf?” (1978) and “Charlie Did It” (1988). Other cutting-edge episodes include “Guns” (a 1977 two-part special on the National Rifle Association), “Heroin” (1972), and “Leon Jaworski” (1976), which involved an exclusive interview with the Watergate special prosecutor, who expressed dismay at what he had discovered during the investigation.

60 Minutes has had its share of controversies, as well as praise. It received early criticism for its lack of female correspondents and producers.

The Briscoe Center is home to one of the most comprehensive collections of news media history archives in existence. The collections include the personal papers of media industry pioneers, research archives, audio and video recordings, an unmatched collection of photojournalism, and one of the largest newspaper collections in the United States with more than 5,000 titles. In addition to multiple 60 Minutes correspondents and producers, the papers of media professionals held at the Briscoe Center includethe collections of Walter Cronkite (UPI, CBS), Dominick Dunne (Vanity Fair), Sig Mickelson (CBS), and Robert Trout (CBS, NBC, ABC).

The Pioneers Who Changed TV News was made possible by the generosity of the Marion Goldin Charitable Gift Fund.