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JAMS 380: Documentary, Analysis, and Production

JAMS 380 students can use this guide to search, review, and request available archival news footage from the UWM Archives.

About the Collection

WTMJ-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. WTMJ-TV went on the air on December 3, 1947. It was the seventeenth television station in the country to go on the air, the first television station in Wisconsin, and the first commercial station in the Midwest. The WTMJ-TV news collection is the largest surviving body of television news footage in Wisconsin. It dates from 1950 to 1980 and consists of approximately two million feet of 16mm film. It is arranged into the following series:

Daily News: This series consists of film shot to accompany daily news stories from January 21, 1964, through February 8, 1980.

The Milwaukee Newsreel was a weekly review of the news. It aired on Wednesday evening at 9:30 p.m. beginning on October 4, 1950, and ended in February 1955. Footage in the collection spans from the debut episode through February 2, 1955. The collection includes scripts for the same period.

Special Assignment aired Monday through Friday from 6:25 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The program debuted May 11, 1959, and ran until 1970. Special Assignment dealt with matters of current interest.

Special Reports and Other Footage: Special topics include footage on visits to Milwaukee by the Beatles (1964), Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (1969), and presidential candidates John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace. There is also footage either on or relating to Milwaukee’s civil rights movement, especially efforts to desegregate the Milwaukee Public School System.

Have Questions?

Search for Archival News Footage

WTMJ Camera Crew

WTMJ-TV News Search is a catalog of nearly 50,000 news stories broadcast from 1950 to 1980 by WTMJ-TV, an NBC-affiliated station located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stories cover all aspects of Milwaukee history including politics, business and industry, sports, entertainment, and social justice movements.

Search WTMJ Footage

For more search options, try the WTMJ News Search Advanced Search feature. Use this feature to search by date, by series type, the availability of sound, and online viewing options.

Visit the Advanced Search Page.

Tips for Successful Searching

WTMJ News production team

  • When you search the WTMJ News Search tool, you are searching the text of segment descriptions. The search box will not recognize punctuation, misspellings, or synonyms.
  • Keep search terms simple and short. For example:
    • "flood", "city hall", "election"
  • If you don't find what you're looking for, keep at it! Try making a list of possible search terms for your topic before beginning your exploration.

Sample WTMJ News Footage


Summary: Harold Storey, chair of the Milwaukee School Board’s Special Committee on Equality of Educational Opportunity, addressed charges of segregation in city schools at a meeting. (civil rights)

     Series: Special Assignment
     Date: January 22, 1964
     Start/Stop Time: 0:00:03 - 0:03:02    
     Access Copy: WTMJ_assignments_1964-01-22-23.mp4