Daily Archives: February 3, 2010

News archivist

Many of us remember when the Fox News Channel launched in the mid 1990s, an upstart cable news competitor to the vaunted CNN.

Turns out, the upstart had deeper news roots than CNN, despite CNN’s fifteen-year head start on cable.

Fox Movietone was a newsreel producer, back when TV didn’t exist but motion picture houses still played a campy, prototypical version of today’s (still campy, I know) TV news.

This dawned on me after reading a blog called Feeding the Beast.  It’s the same place where I found that cool photo, the one showing the hat-and-suited Fox News guy hand-cranking a camera on a rickety wooden tripod, perched on the shoals of a river chatting it up with a fisherman,

It’s the same place you’d find behind-the-scenes info on other historical relics.   Perhaps you already knew that an Army bomber crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945.  A newsreel photog, impersonating a doctor, actually made it up to the crash area with a camera.  And he shot some still-disturbing film of the aftermath.

The blogger behind it is a still / video enthusiast / history buff named Amanda Emily. Recently, she posted some fascinating 1970s material depicting a lost cause, an ongoing debate positing that film was superior to ENG.

Unlike the photos on this blog, many of Emily’s photos are high resolution and can be viewed in full size.  The Fox News photo, for example — you can distinguish the logo easily.  Go there and see for yourself.  Then click the photo for the larger version.

And who wouldn’t want to view this 1957 News Car in glorious high resolution?  Click here, then click the photo.

Notice the newsman’s use of the two-way radio.  Old school, right?  Maybe not.  Especially if your 21st century Atlanta TV station is now forcing photographers to sign contracts accepting liability for accidents in company vehicles when the driver is at fault as a result of talking or texting on a cell phone.

Perhaps it’s time to dig out those mothballed two-way radio devices.  Is frequency KFH-743 still available?  “Doctor, is that you?”

Feeding the Beast is linked on the blogroll to the right under “media sites.”