EUGENE, Ore. — Roughly 50 years of historical moments, breaking news, broadcasts, and sporting events, captured by KEZI journalists have all been boxed at Chambers Communications and handed over to the University of Oregon.
“You can’t really put a monetary value on collections like this. They have deep cultural, historical value,” said James Fox, UO Archives Specialist.
There are 450 boxes, each with 15-20 tapes inside. It’s estimated to be about 100,000 stories.
“There is a lot of information about our local community,” Fox said.
Fox, the head of Special Collections in University of Oregon archives says a donation like this is staggering.
“We can’t even imagine all the uses this material can be put to,” Fox said.
It’s a donation just as rare as it is important.
“We know from various studies that local communities are unevenly and under served with information about critical, local issues, and this archive gets right to that,” Fox said.
And they’ll get right to work with it.
“We have a lot of work to do…but, it’s good work, important work,” Fox said.
Already well preserved, it must be moved to formats that can be made more accessible to the public.
“We also know that every five to seven years that material needs to be refreshed and moved to even newer formats so it’s a significant undertaking,” Fox said.
Philip H. Knight Dean of Libraries Deborah Carver says the research value it holds is remarkable, and only adds to an already impressive collection consisting mostly of text and photos.
“But nothing like moving images, so we’re really excited about adding that dimension to our collections,” Carver said.
She says a good example of its research value is civil rights, a local account of what was happening during a time the country was filled with turmoil.
“To see that and hear how people were communicating back then that adds a dimension to the understanding to the Civil Rights era that you can’t get just by reading text and looking at pictures,” Carver said.
It will be a couple of years before the public has access to the archives. Requests can be made, but it’s already in use. A documentary team is in Eugene working on the history of running. The video they want is of Steve Prefontaine, and they have lots to work with.