University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries
WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection


The WSB Newsfilm Collection at the University of Georgia’s Walter. J. Brown Media Archive & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries is a remarkable treasure of moving image history focusing on Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding region. The collection contains over 5 million feet of newsfilm dating from 1949 to 1981.

On September 29, 1948 WSB-TV became the first television station in the South. It is partnered with WSB radio which began broadcasting in 1922. No other Atlanta area television stations saved their newsfilm, making this collection a unique historical resource. In addition, WSB was the largest television station in the region and routinely was able to provide more reporters taking more newsfilm than the other television stations based in Atlanta.

The newsfilm covers the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr., the political careers of Jimmy Carter, Julian Bond, Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson, Herman Talmadge, Lester Maddox, Carl Sanders, George Wallace, Richard Russell, William Hartsfield, and many others. If it happened in Atlanta from the 1950s to 1981 then it is most likely in this collection. There is an online database available for this collection that describes distinct segments of the original 16mm film. VHS reference copies are available for viewing by researchers and producers onsite in the Media Archives. Licensing rights to this collection are held by the University. Beta test site available at:

The richness of the collection lies in the fact the footage is raw. It is not the televised newscast but the “B-roll” or unedited footage. Newsfilm is a sweet irony in the fast-paced world of television news and it was in use for approximately 30 years. Prior to television, news was captured on 35mm film and shown in movie theaters as newsreels. Newsfilm is 16mm and started out as black & white and then moved to color, with small portable cameras, it became the standard for recording events and was shown during news broadcasts to augment the story being read by the television anchor. Later, videotape became more portable, didn’t require chemical processing and was re-recordable and therefore more attractive in terms of getting a story out quickly. Stations typically kept their newsfilm if they had storage space available.
Newfilm is more permanent compared to videotape in terms of format and Now with digital production storage is still the key issue for local broadcasters.

What the collection contains
This collection is indexed in a database located in Media Archives. Please contact the Archives for research assistance.
VHS reference copies are available for viewing by researchers and producers onsite in the Media Archives. Rights to this collection are held by the University. Please contact the Media Archives for licensing information
It refers to filmstock created for camera to processing to direct projection. When held in your hands you will notice the images look like slides (like positive transparencies, color or BW). Reversal tends to be somewhat contrasty as it was intended for direct projection, for the original to look fine on a screen in a darkened room.



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