(In the course
registration book: "Hist TV News
The Golden Age of
TV News Documentary
The University of Delaware
Department of Communication
Professor Ralph J. Begleiter
(In the course registration book: "Hist TV News Documentary")
Television viewers today are rarely treated to the kind of investigative and influential TV news documentaries that were staples of network programming in the 1960's and 1970's. The best of those programs exposed political and social problems to a mass audience, and often had powerful influences at the national level. This course excavates some of the best of this "lost ark" of television documentaries to discover why they were made, why they were influential and why they're no longer on today's broadcasting agenda.
Students should expect in this course an interdisciplinary mixture of history, political science, journalism and communication.
Assignments may include (but are not limited to) viewing some programs outside class time, purchasing and reading the course packet, and several analytical papers based on readings, viewings and class discussion.
Discussion is expected of students in this class.
From the Students
"Documentaries of the Lost
Ark kind can only be made at a certain moment in history.
All of the films we had the pleasure of seeing were pieces
of American history that many of us missed by a generation."
"Pensions: The Broken
the first time I had to hold back
tears in any class I have ever taken in my entire life.
This, to me, was the sign of a good documentary." (Spring,
"Through viewing these
documentaries, we have been able to witness the changing
face of television, and hopefully it has also helped to make
us aware of ways in which television may change in the
future, reflecting the changing attitudes and priorities of
society." (Spring, 2001)
"Although many of the social
and political events providing the substance for these
programs occurred before I was even born, I still found most
of the shows moving and impressive. These programs taught me
a lot about issues I had never devoted attention to
Broadcasts such as Titicut Follies and
Night and Fog have impacted me more than programs
such as Survivor or Friends ever could."
"There is little incentive
to produce unprofitable and controversial documentaries
scrutinizing the government when other subsidiaries under
the large parent company depend on favorable government
policies to enhance profits." (Spring, 2001)
Back to the
"Selling of the Pentagon" - 1972