The Michigan Daily-Monday, October 26, 1987- Page 5
TV executives examine
By JIM PONIEWOZIK
During the 1960s, when many
people called television a "vast
wasteland," network programmers
were producing politically and soci-
ally conscious documentaries at their
highest rate ever.
These programs were the focus of
the conference, "TV Documentaries:
Focus on the Sixties," held at the
Modern Languages Building Satur-
The conference, co-sponsored by
the Department of Communication
and the Howard R. Marsh Center for
the Study of Journalistic Perfor-
mance, featured a panel of speakers
which included former NBC News
President Reuven Frank, CBS News
Executive Producer Robert North-
shield, and Erik Barnouw, professor
emeritus of Dramatic Arts at Co-
The conference examined the de-
velopment and influence of the docu-
mentary during "the decade in which
television became truly central to
American life," said Communi-
cations Prof. Mary Ann Watson.
About 100 people attended the
conference, which featured three ses-
sions focusing on documentary cov-
erage of the Kennedy administration,
the Vietnam War, and America's
The resurgence of documentaries
in the early '60s resulted from im-
provements in film technology and a
drive for more public interest pro-I
gramming, the panelists said. r
During the '60s, said Barnouw,t
TV documentaries served as an in-c
strument of social change. Televisionl
often had to "focus on unwelcomeE
facts," he said. "It was a neccessary1
kind of subversion."
The growth of political idealism
during that period also contributed to
the increase in politically and
socially oriented documentaries, they
said. CBS News Senior Executive
Producer Burton Benjamin said,
however, "I never saw my role as
being ennobled to tell America about
any (ideology)... My role was jour-
The panel also discussed the
growth of experimentalism in 60's
documentary-making. The decade saw
the pioneering of new techniques
such as the "cinema veritd" genre,
which stressed unrehearsed "slice of
life" film segments rather than staged
and narrated filming.
This experimentation had its fail-
ures. "People started to believe that
making films consisted of getting
high and shooting lots of film. That
produced some disastrous results,"
said Massachusetts Institute of Tech-
nology Film Prof. Richard Leacock,
who during the early 60's produced
several experimental films for Life
Another major focus of the con-
ference was the effect of news doc-
umentaries on societal attitudes.
Television coverage of events such as
the Vietnam war and civil rights
demonstrations often contained gra-
phic violence, said Leacock. The
entry of this violence into people's
homes for the first time may have
contributed to changes in public
opinion, he said.
The panel also discussed the
"magazine" format, which has largely
supplanted the documentary, as well
as the decreased independence given
to today's producers. "I've never seen
anything produced well by a group,"
said Benjamin. "It's harder to be left
Northshield, of CBS News, was
also critical of modern documen-
taries. "The documentary has come to
mean something that is long, in-
frequent, and unpopular," he said.
Daily Photo by SCOTT LITUCHY
Racist graffitti, written by an unknown vandal(s), is discovered on a mirror in a fourth-floor women's
restroom in the East Engineering building Thursday night. It says, "Funky Black Bitch."
.Worker charges 'U' with harassment
(Continued from Page 1)
Education building to polish door
knobs. Jeff Kowalski, one of Clark's
co-workers, confirmed her story.
Baits could not be reached for
Clark also said that on Aug. 20,
Bowling had her clean 10 extra
r rooms as well as the ones she was
scheduled to do that night.
Clark said she filed a greivance
Oct. 8 against Bowling and East
Engineering Building supervisor
Jack Stevens for harassment. Clark
said Stevens had been trying to get
other workers to get information
Clark also said Stevens moved
r her from the second floor of East
Engineering to the fourth flor last
Monday. Clark said she is now
responsible for cleaning 63 rooms
instead of the 24 she used to clean
on the second floor.
Stevens could not be reached for
Bowling said she had no com-
ment either on what happened
Thursday night or on Clark's griev-
After Clark discovered the bath-
room, she called Judy Levy,
AFSCME's bargaining chairperson,
and asked her to come to the build-
ing to see it.
Levy said she got there at around
10:30 p.m. and called Bowling.
Clark said Bowling came to the
building with Richards Williams,
another area manager, Baits, and
other supervisors and managers.
Levy said she asked Bowling that
Clark be removed from the fourth
floor and that management "cease
using that type of harassment"
against a union employee.
Levy said Bowling told her to
leave the building or she would call
campus security. Levy said that
under Michigan law, union business
can be conducted in non-work areas
which Levy said include hallways.
Levy also said the law provides
for union business during non-work
time, which she said was happening
since Clark had gone off to clean a
According to Levy, Williams said
it didn't matter and said Levy "had
gone too far."
Williams had no comment on the
Craft said that at around 6:00
p.m. a student approached her and
Clark to report that the bathroom
had been vandalized.
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