Two years and a half-million dollars.
That’s what it has taken for New Mexico PBS to get their archive digitized.
The Albuquerque-based station worked with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting on the New Mexico Public Media (NMPM) Collection, which is currently available.
Michael Kamins, supervising project manager at NMPBS, says the project brings together more than 8,000 items from public media stations across the state, including full television and radio programs, as well as interviews and footage documenting New Mexico’s social, political, artistic and cultural history between 1963 and 2020.
“We were able to preserve this huge treasure that was going to disappear,” Kamins says. “We knew the clock was ticking and we had gone beyond the parameters and it was going to be obsolete if nothing was done.”
As part of the innovative statewide collaboration, five stations, coordinated by New Mexico PBS, worked to digitize programs that resided on obsolete and deteriorating audio and video formats, making accessible historic public media from an underrepresented region. The collection includes programs by Indigenous producers, Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentaries, bilingual and Spanish language series, Vietnam War protest coverage and more.
Thousands of programs in the NMPM Collection are now available to stream online for the first time since their initial broadcast. The series include KNME’s “Â¡Colores!,” a weekly newsmagazine about New Mexico’s creative spirit; and KUNM’s National Indian Council on Aging, a collection of public service announcements in Navajo, Zuni, Lakota and other Indigenous languages; Peabody Award-winning KNME documentary “Surviving Columbus” and its raw footage, created by Indigenous filmmakers about the Pueblo people; footage and news reports from the penitentiary and “Monuments to Failure: America’s Prison Crisis,” a 1987 examination reported by Tom Wicker on the state of penitentiaries in five states including New Mexico; KUNM’s “La Chicana,” an exploration of what it means to be a Chicana feminist; and KUNM’s “UNM Strike Documentary” with coverage of six days of protest against the Vietnam War at the University of New Mexico in 1970.
Kamins says the NMPM Collection is accompanied by a digital exhibition, “Witnessing New Mexico: The New Mexico Public Media Digitization Project,” authored by the NMPM Digitization Project fellows David P. Saiz and Rachel Snow.
“Through their extensive knowledge of the collection material, the multimedia StoryMap offers an insightful window into New Mexico’s past and present, with a special focus on how communities in the state have resisted discrimination and marginalization,” Kamins says.
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