Pryor Center to further preserve Arkansas history
The following is a press release from the University of Arkansas
Former Arkansas Sen. David Pryor’s dream to share Arkansas’ visual history is making new progress. Work is now under way to organize and catalog the 24,000 hours of video donated by Little Rock television station KATV to the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas. The collection is currently stored in a climate-controlled environment at the Arkansas State Library. The archive includes early videotape news coverage and film dating back to the 1950s.
“The eventual goal is to make the entire collection available to the public online,” said Kris Katrosh, director of the Pryor Center. “It is one of the most comprehensive archives of news footage in the country. We’re pleased that we are able to be another step closer.”
The Pryor Center has enlisted the services of former KATV news director Randy Dixon to manage the early stages of the digitization process. Dixon is evaluating the condition of the videotapes and determining which material is most historically valuable. Dixon left KATV six months ago to form Dixon Media, a media consulting firm. He also produces commercials and documentaries.
“Randy was at KATV for 31 years and knows, better than anyone, what is in the KATV collection,” said Mark Rose, KATV general manager. “He was hired as the first videotape editor at KATV and was here as the entire archive was built.”
“When Randy took me to the basement of the KATV building 10 years ago and showed the Arkansas history the TV station had collected, I knew it needed to be saved and shared,” said Pryor. “I’m glad we’re able to have him involved in this process.”
“I feel like I’m coming full circle,” said Randy Dixon, owner of Dixon Media. “I look at those shelves of tapes and see my whole TV career in front of me. I’m thrilled to be a part of preserving and sharing so much Arkansas history.”
The KATV collection was given to the University of Arkansas in May 2009 and moved to the Arkansas State Library in August 2010.
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