Today we are tremendously excited to announce a new collaboration with the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive to make available in the TV News Visual Explorer a selection of television news programming from 9 channels in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, considerably expanding the ability of scholars to study television news across the world.
The Visual Explorer already includes a small but growing selection of international channels including Belarus TV, Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) English, Qatar’s Al Jazeera English, Russia’s Channel One, NTV, Russia 1, Russia 24 and Russia Today, Ukraine’s Espreso and the United Kingdom’s BBC News London.
Today those channels are joined by 9 more: Algeria’s Canal Algérie, Jordan TV, Palestinian Satellite Channel, Portugal’s RTP Internacional (RTPi), the United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah TV, Southern Sudan Television, Sudan State TV and the Republic of Congo’s Télé Congo. All nine channel archives run from January 1, 2020 to present.
Television news across the world is both highly similar and incredibly different. Some channels tell the news primarily through newsreaders in studios, others rely more heavily on first person reporting from the field and still others tell the news largely through political and religious leaders, panel discussions and interviews with ordinary citizens. Some channels focus on hard news, others on commentary and some use news primarily to promote government and cultural narratives. Some countries rely on commercial advertising to support television news, while others focus more heavily on music, cultural programming, public service announcements, government statements or religious content between segments. Studio environs range from staid to ornate to technicolor vibrance. Even presentation styles vary from speakers primarily facing the camera to primarily looking offscreen. Yet, media scholars have struggled to study this rich diversity due to the inaccessibility of global television news for scholarly research.
Among limitless research opportunities, these new channel archives offer for the first time the ability for scholars to explore the rich diversity of the visual narratives used to tell the story of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world. From the pandemic’s earliest glimmers to its initial months as the virus and all its unknowns swept across the globe, to the rise of vaccines, to the halting return to some form of normalcy across the globe, this archive offers an unprecedented look at how the pandemic story was told in the EMEA region, along with the myriad other global and local stories of the past two and a half years.
Some channels may have brief gaps and outages or include only selected programs, but the collection overall should present a fairly comprehensive archive of the pandemic era through present as seen through the eyes of each of these channels.
With these nine initial EMEA channels, we have tried to capture a small cross section of television in the region, ranging from commercial to state television, news to commentary, studio to field to government narration, advertising to cultural and religious intermissions, domestic to international and expat focus and an array of geographic perspectives. We hope to continue expanding this selection over time to new channels and regions.
Unlike other Visual Explorer channels, only the thumbnail galleries are viewable for these nine channels – the video clips are not yet playable. The Archive is considering the public interest benefits of converting the underlying archival video streams into web-playable video. In the meantime, the thumbnail galleries alone make it possible to begin exploring this incredibly rich and unique collection and understand at a macro level the visual narratives and top stories being covered. Using these thumbnails, if you find a broadcast of interest, you can also request a temporary library loan of that broadcast to view it via the Archive’s library loan program.
You can access this incredible archive through the TV Visual Explorer interface today! To get you started, we’ve selected two example broadcasts from each channel that give a sense of their programming and some of the unique differences between them:
- Canal Algérie: June 19, 2022 6:00PM, June 20, 2022 9:00AM
- Jordan TV: June 20, 2022 2:00AM, June 21, 2022 5:00AM
- Palestinian Satellite Channel: June 20, 2022 9:30PM, June 20, 2022 10:00PM
- RTP Internacional: June 15, 2022 3:00AM, June 15, 2022 4:00AM
- Sharjah TV: June 21, 2022 2:30AM, June 21, 2022 4:00AM
- Southern Sudan Television: June 20, 2022 10:00PM, June 20, 2022 10:30PM
- Sudan State TV: June 21, 2022 Midnight, June 21, 2022 0:30AM
- Télé Congo: June 20, 2022 8:00PM, June 20, 2022 8:30PM
Although this new collection is not yet streamable, the addition of select domestically-focused African and Middle Eastern television programming is a significant expansion of the Visual Explorer’s window into international television news channels through the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive, opening unprecedented new opportunities for media scholars to explore the visual narratives of news from around the world.