Collection Facts

Extent: 
56 items
Dates of Original: 
1966-1992

Historical Context

During the period of the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, the eight counties of Western New York faced dramatic challenges to social norms, the economy, and politics. During the turbulent 1960’s, Buffalo along with other major U.S. cities experienced inner city riots, civil rights and anti-war protests, and white flight to the suburbs. The 1970s saw an inmate uprising at Attica that led to prison reform at a great cost to human life. Major environmental issues including the Love Canal neighborhood and the nuclear clean-up at West Valley attracted national attention. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Western New York struggled with a loss of major industries including Bethlehem Steel, and became a one newspaper city with the shutdown of the Buffalo Courier Express. Despite social, economic, and political upheavals, Western New York’s unique religious and ethnically diverse culture provided a tightly-knitted fabric of tradition that helped stabilize families and neighborhoods. As the “City of Good Neighbors,” Buffalo celebrated its storied history and found new ways to cope with a rapidly changing world. While Buffalo is now experiencing an economic renaissance, many of the issues that confronted the Western New York region and the state of New York a half century ago continue to present challenges. These include matters involving race relations, civil rights, preservation, education and the environment. It is the hope of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association that this up-close and personal television news chronicle of Western New York’s moving image history will shed new light on the character of a region and its people, and provide valuable lessons for addressing the critical issues of our time.

Scope of Collection

This WIVB-TV collection of news film and videotape covers many aspects of life in the greater Buffalo region during the time period primarily spanning from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s. As the collection expands, it will chronicle the growth of grass roots movements that led to major institutional changes. It will also present human interest features that bring out the humanity of a people. In the WIVB-TV 50th Anniversary Special, “First In Western New York: 50 Golden Years on Channel 4”, there are brief clips from the beginnings of broadcast television in Buffalo. These segments date back as early as 1948. The news film and videotape digitized in this collection represent only a small portion of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association (BBA) holdings. There are log books listing the contents of each broadcast and research conducted by many journalists. It is hoped that one day all of the materials in the BBA Archive will be available to researchers and the public.